Chavit's son could get P29.7M fine, life imprisonment

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 26 2010 03:57 PM | Updated as of Jul 26 2010 11:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines -  The son of Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson could be fined up to P29.7 million and suffer a prison term of 3 years to life if he is proven guilty of bringing illegal drugs to Hong Kong.

Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson (1st District ) was arrested at the Customs arrival hall of Chek Lap Kok International Airport last July 11 for possession of 26.1 grams of cocaine and two tablets of diazepam, more commonly known as Valium. He is currently detained at Lai Chi Kok Correctional Institute.

A copy of Singson's charge sheet obtained by ABS-CBN News showed that Singson has been charged with trafficking a dangerous drug.

Under existing law, suspects summarily convicted of bringing 10-50 grams of illegal substances such as cocaine or heroine to Hong Kong could be fined HK$500,000 (P2.9 million) and imprisonment of 3 to 8 years. This is the minimum penalty for Singson if he pleads guilty and is convicted of the crime.

On the other hand, Singson could be fined up to HK$5,000,000 (P29.7 million) and suffer imprisonment of 3 years to life if he pleads innocent  but is convicted of drug trafficking.

The charge sheet recommended no bail and no option for deportation for the Ilocos Sur congressman.

Consul General Claro Cristobal, meanwhile, said the Hong Kong justice system usually moves quickly, with sentencing done in a month.

Singson first appeared before a Hong Kong court last July 22. His next hearing is scheduled on August 19.

Chavit Singson, a former deputy national security adviser of President Arroyo, earlier confirmed that his son was arrested in Hong Kong last July 11 for possession of illegal drugs. He said his son was going to see popular recording artist Usher in Macau, who recently held a concert in Manila through the help of their company, Fearless Productions.

The governor admitted that the main reason why his son decided to go abroad was due to his break-up with his showbiz girlfriend, Lovi Poe, on the night of Usher’s concert in Manila.

The arrest came as a shock to Singson. Although painful, he said he would not use any influence to help his son’s case.

“Sana ma-deport dahil maliit na bagay yung nahuli sa possession niya. Nasulsulan lang siguro yun. Humihingi ako ng paumanhin sa lahat at hindi magandang ehemplo ang nangyaring ito hopefully magsisilbing leksiyon sa lahat,” Singson said.

He claimed that he has been strict with his children, his employees and even in his province when it comes to illegal drugs. He also alleged that he regularly sends his children to take drug tests.

Singson also denied that former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, now congresswoman of the 2nd district of Pampanga, will be visiting his son when she goes to Hong Kong.  Report from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News