DOJ appeals ’floating shabu’ ruling

THE Justice department has asked the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court to reverse its decision absolving four Chinese nationals arrested in a “floating shabu laboratory” in Subic in 2016 in one of the two drug cases filed against them.

In an 11-page partial motion for reconsideration filed on Friday, the department’s prosecutors appealed the decision of Olongapo City RTC Branch 74.

The court convicted Win Fai Lo, Shu Fook Leung, Kam Wah Kwok and Kwok Tung Chan for possession of 467.8 kilos of shabu but acquitted them of manufacturing illegal drugs.

The department assailed the finding of Judge Roline Jabalde that the four Chinese were not guilty of the other charge because the hydrogenator seized by the authorities inside the vessel for manufacturing shabu was “non-functional” during the arrest.

“The Honorable Court must know that the law does not require that the laboratory equipment found in the clandestine laboratory must be operational,” says the motion filed by the department’s panel led by Senior Associate Justice Juan Pedro Navera.

“The four accused who were arrested on board and made it appear that the boat was a fishing vessel with legitimate business operations and concealed its actual purpose as a clandestine laboratory should be held liable for conspiring and confederating with one another to manufacture dangerous drugs.” 

The prosecutors said the discovery of a hydrogenator inside the vessel was enough to conclude that it was a clandestine laboratory.

They said the hydrogenator was not functioning at the time because a hydrogen gas tank was needed, but there was a power supply where it was located.

They said the presence of any controlled precursor and essential chemicals or laboratory equipment was prima facie proof of the manufacture of illegal drugs.

“The fact that a piece of laboratory equipment such as the hydrogenator plus a freezer and a rice cooker coupled by the fact that a finished product or shabu was found inside the boat was unrebutted and was not contradicted by the defense,” the motion says.

The prosecutors also said that the court had no scientific or chemical expertise to ignore or overturn the conclusion of experts from PDEA.

“All it had to do was to receive and juxtapose Berango’s chemical expertise with that of other prosecution and defense evidence,” the prosecutors said. 

They said they decided to appeal the RTC’s verdict because it could have serious repercussions on drug cases and could be used by other arrested suspects to get away from the law.

Topics: Department of Justice , DOJ , ’floating shabu’ , Olongapo City Regional Trial Court , Chinese nationals
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