Aguirre: Judge hearing seized 890-kg shabu case ill

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2017 04:58 PM

MANILA — The judge that Sen. Richard Gordon castigated in a Senate hearing Tuesday for failing to order the destruction of 890 kilos of illegal drugs seized nine months ago is sick, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said.

“Talagang masama ang lagay nung judge,” Aguirre told reporters.

Hearings on the destruction of shabu confiscated during a raid in San Juan last December was twice postponed and reset for Sept. 28 because Judge Juvencio Gascon was on sick leave, he told a Senate committee hearing.

But Gordon said his blue ribbon committee would still summon the judge to the Sept. 25 hearing, raising the possibility of a “constitutional crisis” with the judiciary.

“Tingin ko, foot-dragging 'yan. Ang tingin ko, baka nilalagyan na 'yan eh,” Gordon told reporters, noting that government prosecutors should have sought a different judge to handle the case.

Under the law, a court should inspect seized drugs within 72 hours from the filing of a case. It shall then be turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and destroyed within 24 hours.

“(The judge) is violating the law,” Gordon said. “Ten months dine-delay kung kaso. Aba teka muna, eh kung mawala 'yung ebidensya?,” he said.

Aguirre said he had raised the matter with Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno about three weeks ago amid concerns of possible pilferage.

Gordon ordered Aguirre to prepare an affidavit on his meeting with Sereno because the committee summoned Gascon.

The senator raised the matter at Tuesday's hearing on alleged corruption at the Bureau of Customs, which came to light following the bust of a P6.4-billion drug shipment in May.