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Court resets arraignment of Customs broker Mark Taguba

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, February 9th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines —Friday’s arraignment of Customs broker Mark Taguba over his drug smuggling case was canceled.

His lawyer asked the court for a postponement due to a pending petition before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46 Presiding Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa reset the arraignment to February 23.

Taguba’s lawyer insisted that his client is innocent in the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

“All the way until it was delivered, Mark did not know what the content of that container was. So it’s a pity the DOJ indicted him in this case though his role is very minimal,” said Atty. Raymond fortune, legal counsel of Taguba.

The Department of Justice is directed to comment on Taguba’s appeal for continued detention at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

His lawyer explained that it could not be denied there are people who would want to harm Taguba once he is transferred to the Manila City jail due to his testimony before the Senate hearings.

He noted that some of the persons whom Taguba implicated in drug smuggling and anomalies in the customs bureau have already lost their positions.

“It’s not a secret at all, it’s actually pretty well known it’s to easy to get a person, pay him, from inside the jail to harm a fellow detainee,” said Fortun.

Taguba remains under NBI custody but the chief of the NBI detention cell has been directed by the court to explain the failure to deliver him to the city jail as ordered since last Friday.

Judge Montesa said that this sends a wrong message to the public because it would appear that court orders can be defied and high-profile accused is given special treatments.

Meanwhile, the court has also directed the transfer of alleged shabu shipment consignee Eirene Mae Tatad to the Manila City jail.

Tatad is also under NBI custody after she was arrested while on a vacation in Iloilo. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue


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Aguirre discards panel’s dismissal of drug charges vs Espinosa,  et al.

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre

FILE PHOTO: Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has scrapped the dismissal of drug charges against self-confessed drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa and other alleged drug lords such as Peter Lim, Peter Co, and others.

For now, the justice department is giving the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the accused, enough time to submit new sets of evidence.

Among those that can be submitted to the DOJ are the transcript of Espinosa’s travel records and his admission before the Senate hearing that he is a drug dealer.

“The motion for reconsideration pending before I assumed the power of automatic review is now deemed moot and academic,” Aguirre said.

The official added that he will have a lawyer that will focus on the gathering of evidence and the investigation of the PNP on the cases.

PNP said they are preparing the evidence that will pin down Espinosa on his involvement in illegal drug operations.

PNP Drug Enforcement Group (DEG) Director PCSupt. Albert Ferro said that the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has already obtained a copy of the extrajudicial confession or the evidence of Espinosa’s admission in November 2016 that he is involved in the illegal drug operations.

“The Senate transcript is actually same with the extrajudicial confession of Kerwin because when it was presented, Kerwin had no prepared speech so his judicial affidavit was presented,” said PNP-DEG Legal and Investigation Division chief PSupt. Enrico Rigor.

Meanwhile, Aguirre admitted that some prosecutors were unhappy about his order to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a probe on those who are involved in the case dismissal.

Despite this, the official said that he will not stop the investigations.

“Naiintindihan ko iyong (I understand) where they are coming from. But they should also understand that because of the backlash caused by some people with ill-motives coupled with politics, nagkaroon po ng hindi magandang perception ang public dito sa isyung ito (the public had a negative perception on this issue),” Aguirre said. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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2 high-ranking BOC officials deny collecting “tara”

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

(Left-Right) BOC Deputy Commissioner Edward Dy Buco and Deputy Commissioner Natalio Ecarma III

MANILA, Philippines — The two deputy commissioners of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has denied involvement in corruption at the agency.

This is contrary to what Senator Panfilo Lacson had exposed in his privilege speech in August 2017 when he named them as among those who received “tara” from importers.

“I vehemently deny the inclusion of my office and my name,” BOC Deputy Commissioner Edward Dy Buco said.

Deputy Commissioner Natalio Ecarma III noted, “Syndicates that we are up against are deeply entrenched, well-funded, politically connected and highly influential,”

Meanwhile, during the 14th hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the corruption issue in the BOC, Senator Richard Gordon said he did not see any solid pieces of evidence against the personalities in Senator Lacson’s tara list.

‘Walang naglabas ng ebidensya (Nobody presented evidence). I wish Senator Lacson will come out,” said Gordon.

Despite this, Customs chief Isidro Lapeña will continue to investigate the corruption issue in his agency.

“The investigation is a continuing one and this will cover not just those that were revealed by Senator Lacson, also those who are doing it who were not mentioned,” Lapena said. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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PNP chief vows no escape for drug suspects

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa has once again expressed his dismay over the dismissal of drug charges against several drug suspects.

Dela Rosa considers the dismissal of the charges against self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and alleged drug suspect Peter Lim and others as a lesson to the whole PNP unit.

The PNP chief also vowed not to allow any more drug suspects to escape the law.

“Sino bang masaya? Malungkot tayo. Malungkot nga yung ordinaryong tao na nanonood lang sa TV na inaamin ni Kerwin Espinosa na siya’y druglord. Si Peter Lim ay druglord. Kami pa kaya na nagtatrabaho diyan,” said the PNP chief.

(Who would be happy about it? We feel sad. Even ordinary people who have witnessed the confession of Kerwin Espinosa that he’s a drug lord; that Peter Lim is a drug lord, are sad about it, even more so for us who worked on the case.)

Dela Rosa explained that he is frustrated with the decision of the panel of prosecutors of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that handled the case.

Dela Rosa also said he felt sorry for the policemen who sacrificed their lives for the campaign against illegal drugs.

The police chief also gave a warning to Kerwin Espinosa.

“Naisahan talaga kami pero kwidaw (We really were fooled, but beware). Ikaw, Kerwin, naisahan mo kami ngayon (You, Kerwin, was able to pull a fast one this time) but you cannot “one” us all the time. Mark my word, Mr. Kerwin Espinosa. You cannot “one” us all the time,” said Dela Rosa.)

Several prosecutors of the DOJ dismissed the case against the drug suspects for insufficient evidence. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue

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