Drug suspect confirms PDEA extort try

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 28 2012 11:33 AM | Updated as of Sep 28 2012 07:33 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Alleged drug dealer Mark Sy Tan has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the charges against him during Friday's first hearing on the reinvestigation ordered by a trial court.

Appearing in hand cuffs and escorted by jail guards, Tan, a Chinese national, submitted an 8-page counter-affidavit with the investigating panel composed of Asst. State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera and Prosecution Attorney Anna Noreen Devanadera, denying the charges of sale of dangerous drugs and conspiracy in violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 leveled against him by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Tan said he did not personally know other respondents Changxin Wang a.k.a "Chang," Matthew L. Tan, and Go Hong Bing a.k.a. "Clarence Chen Go" and "Tony Go" who were nabbed in a PDEA operation last February after allegedly trying to sell shabu worth P3.6 million to a poseur buyer in Quezon City.

In asking the Quezon City trial court to grant his motion for reinvestigation, Tan argued that he was not present in the bust and was charged with the information without the benefit of a preliminary investigation.

"I... strongly and vehemently deny the material allegations contained in the pro-forma joint affidavit of the alleged poseur-buyer and arresting officers of the PDEA, for as far as my alleged participation is concerned, the same are all untrue, perjurious, merely fragments of their imaginations, if not all hallucinations, and have no basis in law and in fact," his counter-affidavit read.

"He was not there, he did not know the other respondents... and they charged him without giving him the benefit of presenting his defense in a preliminary investigation," Tan's lawyer, Reynaldo Lugto told ABS-CBN News.

Tan's counter-affidavit pointed out that apart from a family business of subcontracting and marketing of garments under company name 'Newton Fashion Wear,' he, since Nov. 2011, is also engaged as a money transfer agent for fellow Chinese residing or doing business here.

Tan said that in depositing money to his bank accounts for the alleged sale of illegal drugs, PDEA agents merely relied on instructions given by "Chang" for payment for the illegal drugs sold by "Chang" to the agents.

Tan said the transactions with clients are made via telephone where he does not get to personally meet his clients.

"The allegation of PDEA that I maintain this account for the purpose of receiving payments for the sale of illegal drugs is simply preposterous and improbable... why would I go to the outrageous extreme of putting myself and my other investments/monies in jeopardy to illegal drugs activities using my bank account as a means of payment?" he argued.

Tan also debunked allegations of conspiracy in the sale of prohibited drugs.

"Apparently, it defeats the essential elements of the crime of sale of illegal drugs insofar as I am concerned. Obviously, my identity as an alleged seller is wanting," he argued.

As to former PDEA deputy director general Carlos Gadapan's claim that PDEA agents were able to extort P8 million from Tan, Atty. Lugtu said his client denies having shelled out money to any of the agents.

"How could he, he was already detained?" Lugtu said.

Tan will, however, pursue charges against the agents since there was an "attempt" to extort from him, Lugtu added.