MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed charges before the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) against six persons nabbed in a major drug bust by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) in Subic, Zambales last August that yielded over 400 kilos of shabu (Methamphetamine hydrochloride) worth P2 billion.
Charged for violations of Republic Act (RA) No. 9165, also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, were Albert Chin aka Robert Chin, 48; Emmanuel Erwin Tobias, 25; Dennis Domingo, 38; Joselito Escueta, 38; Coronel Desierto, 38; and Romeo Manalo, 35.
In a 28-page resolution through investigating fiscal Asst. State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, dated Sept. 25, the DOJ found probable cause to charge the six before the trial court.
The AIDSOTF operation, in cooperation with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), was conducted on the basis of a tip from an informant on July 30 about an impending arrival of a shabu shipment at the Subic Free Port. Chin was behind the shipment, the informant claimed, and was in need of a male helper to assist in the transport of the illegal drugs.
An undercover policeman applied for the job, and was hired by Chin.
The shabu shipment, totalling more or less 433 kilograms, arrived at the port on Aug. 11, placed inside gym bags and balikbayan boxes.
The arrests of Escueta, Desierto, Tobias and Domingo took place after they loaded the illegal drugs into a van. The signal was given by the undercover policeman to the operating AIDSOTF team.
Chin and Manalo were subsequently arrested at a toll booth at the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).
"His (undercover policeman) personal knowledge, coupled with his real time telephone communication with the other PNP-AIDSOTF officers standing by... gave clear validity to the warrantless arrest of all the respondents," the DOJ resolution read.
The DOJ ruled that Escueta, Desierto, Tobias, Domingo, Manalo and Chin were in "constructive possession" of all the shabu, and should be indicted as principals for possession of dangerous drugs.
Chin and Manalo were also found to be in possession of one kilo of shabu, inside their vehicle, at the time of their arrest, and also face charges for transportation of dangerous drugs.
The resolution was approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva, chairman of the DOJ Task Force on Anti-Illegal Drugs, and Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.