Customs broker Taguba now under BJMP custody

MANILACustoms broker Mark Taguba is now under the custody of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in its detention facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Friday.

NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46 issued the new order after the Philippine National Police (PNP) refused to accommodate Taguba at the police's custodial center.

The PNP turned down Taguba's trasnfer, citing a 2010 circular issued by the Supreme Court's (SC) Office of the Administrator (OCA) ordering courts to refrain from detaining prisoners at PNP facilities.

So the agents went back to the court and informed the court of the circumstances, Lavin said.

Lavin said Taguba was taken to Camp Bagong Diwa at about 5 p.m. Thursday based on a new commitment order issued by Manila RTC Branch 46.

The court issued another commitment order, this time ordering the NBI to turn over the person of Mark Ruben Taguba to the jail warden of the BJMP in Camp Bagong Diwa, he said.

Taguba is facing charges for drug importation filed by the Department of Justice before the Manila RTC in connection with the PHP6.4-billion shabu shipment from China, which entered the country last year.

Eirene Mae Tatad, an alleged consignee of shipment, was arrested in Iloilo City last Feb. 2 on the strength of an arrest warrant issued by the Manila RTC Branch 46.

Tatad is the second person arrested by the NBI through the joint effort of the Office of the Director, Assistant Director for Intelligence Service, and the Task Force Against Illegal Drugs.

Tatad, owner of EMT Trading and consignee of the drug shipment, is currently detained at the Manila City Jail.

It was Taguba who allegedly tapped EMT Trading to act as importer or consignee of the shipment initially declared to contain kitchenware, but was later discovered to be shabu, following an inspection by authorities.

Aside from Taguba and Tatad, the arrest warrant covers his co-accused Li Guang Feng alias Manny Li, Dong Yi Shen Xi alias Kenneth Dong, Teejay Marcellana, Chen I-Min, Jhu Ming Jhyun and Chen Rong Juan.

Chen Ju Long or Richard Tan/Chen was not included in the arrest order because of a pending motion to dismiss.

No bail was recommended for the accused's temporary liberty.

The NBI said they have already formed several tracking teams to locate the seven others subject of the arrest warrant.

Meanwhile, Manila RTC Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa reset the arraignment of the two accused on April 6, pending a motion to quash the information.

The case was originally filed before the Valenzuela RTC but was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

The DOJ then refiled the case before the Manila RTC.

The DOJ found probable cause to indict for importation of dangerous drugs under Section 4, in relation to Section 26 (a) of Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

In finding probable cause against these respondents for the importation of 602 kg. of shabu, the panel determined that the combination of the individual participation of each of the respondents, either as shipper, consolidator, facilitator, broker, financier, consignee, or warehouse lessee, reveals a pattern of overt acts that indicate conspiracy to import into the country the dangerous drugs.

The panel recommended the filing of the corresponding criminal information for the import of dangerous drugs against the respondents with no bail recommended.

Under the case, the nine defendants are accused of having conspired in bringing into the country 602.279 kg. of methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu.

Taguba and his co-accused are also facing separate criminal charges before Valenzuela RTC, also in connection with the shabu shipment.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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