The owner of the warehouse where a shipment of P6.4 billion worth of the illegal drug shabu had been found, which had escaped scrutiny at the Bureau of Customs, has asked the Valenzuela City Regional Trial Court to dismiss the charges against him.
In his five-page urgent omnibus motion, Richard Tan or Chen Ju Long asked the Valenzuela RTC Branch 171 to defer issuing an arrest warrant pending resolution of his bid to dismiss the case for violation of Section 4, which penalizes importation of dangerous drugs, of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
Tan’s motion stated that the Valenzuela court has no jurisdiction over the case filed because under the law, “the place where the crime was committed determines not only venue of the action but is an essential element of jurisdiction.”
Tan argued that the proper venue for his case is the courts in the city of Manila. He stressed that Under Section 1202 of the Tariff and Customs Code importation begins when the carrying vessel or aircraft enters the Philippine jurisdiction and ends upon payment of the duties, taxes and other charges at the port of entry. In this case, the port of entry was Manila.
“Verily, considering that the alleged importation of dangerous drugs charged in the assailed Information [charge sheet] began and was terminated in the Port of Manila, jurisdiction cannot be acquired by this Honorable Court,” Tan insisted.
“In light of the foregoing circumstances, the accused respectfully moves for this Honorable Court to quash [dismiss] the assailed Information for lack of jurisdiction,” the motion stated.
Tan was prevented on Thursday by the Bureau of Immigration from leaving the country. He was intercepted at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga, where he was set to take a flight bound for Shanghai, China.
Tan—the owner of Hongfei Logistics Inc., the warehouse of which in Valenzuela City was found to have kept the shabu that slipped past Customs—was among those indicted by the DOJ before the Valenzuela RTC.
Also indicted were Customs “fixer” Mark Ruben Taguba II, Li Guang Feng alias Manny Li, Dong Yi Shen Xi alias Kenneth Dong, Eirene Mae Tatad, Customs broker Tee Jay Marcellana, Chen I. Min, Jhu Ming Jhun and Chen.