NBI arrests ‘middleman’ in shabu smuggling for rape

Camille Elemia
NBI arrests ‘middleman’ in shabu smuggling for rape
(UPDATED) NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin says Kenneth Dong was brought straight to the NBI following his arrest at the Senate where he testified at a hearing on shabu smuggled from China

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday, August 15, arrested the alleged middleman in the  P6.4-billion worth of smuggled shabu fron China, at the Senate for a rape case.

NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said the rape case against Kenneth Dong was lodged at a Parañaque court. 

Dong was brought straight to the NBI following his arrest.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II presented to media the rape charges filed before the Parañaque court and the subsequent arrest warrant.

Judge Aida Estrella Macapagal of Paranaque Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 195  issued the warrant against Dong on June 30, 2017.

According to the first page of the charge sheet that Aguirre showed to the media, the crime of rape occurred on April 9, 2016. The justice chief said the woman is in her 30s, legally married, but separated.

The NBI’s Vicente de Guzman, who accompanied Dong to the DOJ on Tuesday, said they only found out about the arrest warrant against Dong recently.

“Considering that Dong is one of the resource persons in the Senate, we conducted a background check on the person and found out that he has a warrant of arrest,” De Guzman said.

When a court issues an arrest warrant, it is turned over to law enforcement authorities to serve the warrant. Other accused individuals, especially those facing bailable offenses, voluntarily surrender to the police and pays their bail. Rape is a non-bailable offense.

Asked why Dong did not surrender, his lawyer, Carla Frias, said it was because they had filed pleadings such as a motion to recall the warrant and a motion for redetermination of probable cause.

Asked why it took one and a half months to serve the warrant, Frias said, “You have to ask the law enforcement authorities that,” adding that her client never intended to hide.

The lawyer thanked the NBI “for being professional and handling the arrest in a humane way.”

On Monday, the NBI filed drug importation complaints before the DOJ against Dong, Customs broker Mark Taguba and 7 others.

Dong appeared before the Senate blue ribbon committee on Tuesday for the hearing on the shabu-smuggling incident.

During the hearing, Dong clarified that he was only an “acquaintance” of presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, who is being linked to smuggling. – with reports from Lian Buan/Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com