Taguba back to NBI custody

MANILA Customs broker Mark Taguba is back in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after the Philippine National Police (PNP) refused to take him despite a court order.

In turning down Taguba, the police cited a 2010 circular issued by the Supreme Court's Office of the Administrator refraining courts from ordering the transfer of custodial prisoners to PNP, instead transfer to detention facilities under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

The NBI said they arrived in Camp Crame but police stopped them at the gate of the PNP Custodial Center.

Taguba arrived at the NBI around 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

In a message sent to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, NBI Public Information Office (PIO) chief Nicanor Suarez said the move is in compliance with the commitment order issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46 ordering the transfer of Taguba to the PNP Support Service Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

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 individual who was 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 Manila City Jail.

It was Taguba who allegedly tapped EMT Trading to act as an 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.

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, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

In finding probable cause against the above-named respondents for the importation of 602 kilograms 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 indicative of conspiracy to import into the country the dangerous drugs.

The panel recommended the filing of the corresponding criminal information for importation 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 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu.

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

Source: Philippine News Agency

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