Court orders arrest of Mark Taguba, middlemen in shabu smuggling

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46 ordered the arrest of Bureau of Customs (BOC) broker Mark Taguba and other middlemen charged for the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China.

Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa signed the resolution on Tuesday, January 30, ordering the issuance of arrest warrants and recommending no bail.

"After evaluating the evidence in support of the information filed in this case, this court finds probable cause to sustain the charge against the persons of Li Guang Feng aka Manny Li, Dong Yi Shen Xi aka Kenneth Dong, Mark Ruben Taguba II, Eirene Mae Tatad, Teejay Marcellana, Chen I. Min, Jhu Ming Jyun, Chen Rong Huan for violation of Section 4 Article II of RA 9165," Montesa said.

The arrest order does not include Chen Ju Long aka Richard Tan or Richard Chen. Chen, who was also charged alongside Taguba and the others, has a pending motion to dismiss.

The charges against all of them were initially filed before the Valenzuela RTC but the judge there dismissed the charges for lack of jurisdiction, saying that the crime of drug importation happened at the Manila port and not at the warehouse in Valenzuela City where the shabu was seized.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) refiled the case before the Manila RTC last January 23.

But Chen argued that "the court has no jurisdiction to entertain or act on the criminal information that has been filed" because the Valenzuela RTC's dismissal of the charges, according to him, "has not yet attained finality."

Meanwhile, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) filed an appeal with the DOJ to reinstate the charges against former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and other BOC officials.

In its motion for reconsideration, the PDEA said the DOJ "deliberately suppressed the truth about the liability and involvement of the respondents."

The DOJ has yet to take a more proactive role in investigating the case, in the absence of an official order by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a case buildup. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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