MANILA, Philippines – Senate blue ribbon committee chair Richard Gordon has sought the issuance of hold departure orders (HDOs) against 9 people implicated in P6.4-billion worth of smuggled shabu from China.
Gordon said he would request Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III to ask the Department of Justice to issue the HDOs.
The senator wants the order to cover Richard Tan, the owner of Hongfei that shipped the illegal drugs to Manila.
He also wants Manny Li, and Kenneth Dong, both alleged middlemen of Tan, to be stopped from leaving the country. Dong was arrested after Tuesday’s Senate hearing over rape charges.
Gordon also said Customs fixer Mark Taguba, broker Teejay Marcellana, warehouse caretakers Fidel Anoche-Dee and sister Emily, consignee Eirene Tatad, and her brother-in-law should be covered by the order.
“They cannot leave the country until the termination of all investigations concerning this,” Gordon said at the end of the 3rd hearing on the smuggled shabu on Tuesday, August 15.
The DOJ earlier put Tan, Dong, Dee, and Taguba under a lookout bulletin, after the Senate’s first hearing.
Tan and Li were earlier cited in contempt by the Senate for being “evasive” and inconsistent during the 2nd hearing but were ordered released on Tuesday.
But Gordon said the two are likely to remain under Senate custody, after the National Bureau of Investigation requested it for fear they might escape authorities.
“Lumapit ang NBI pagkatapos [ng hearing], sabi baka umalis. So, we still have grounds to hold them in contempt; not for the baka umalis sila but because hindi pa sufficient 'yung sinasabi nilang katotohanan,” Gordon said.
(The NBI approached us after the hearing, saying they might leave. So, we still have ground to hold them in contempt; not for fear they might leave but because they have not told the whole truth.)
The next hearing is set on August 22. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org