MANILA - The Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) has ordered the detention of a former official of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Anti-Illegal Drugs Unit, indicted in connection with the discovery of a major ‘shabu’ laboratory in Virac, Catanduanes, at the Makati City Jail during the pendency of his trial.
Makati RTC Branch 63 Presiding Judge Selma Palacio-Alaras ordered the transfer of Augusto Eric Isidoro, who also served as acting regional director of NBI-Central Mindanao Regional Office, from the Virac District Jail to the Makati detention facility.
Isidoro’s indictment stemmed from the discovery of the ‘mega shabu laboratory’ in 2016 on a 1,000-square meter lot owned by him.
The charges against Isidoro and co-accused Xian Xian Wang, Pido Bonito, Jayson Gonzalez Uy, Paolo Uy, Paolo Wee Palisoc, Lorenzo Flores Piñera II, Phung Yuan Estorco, and Sheng Wang, are for conspiracy to manufacture dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals.
The raid on November 26, 2016 at Barangay Palta Small, Virac yielded 22.509 kilos of ’shabu,' and over 359 kilos of ephedrine and other chemicals.
The transfer order was in light of the Supreme Court’s grant of the Department of Justice’s request.
Resigned DOJ chief Vitaliano Aguirre II, in a letter-request to the high court on March 26, cited the handling Virac, Catanduanes judge’s “impartiality” and “local political connections of the accused.” Though he did not mention the name of the judge, there is only one judge assigned in Virac, Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu Contreras, who is also Presiding Judge of Branch 42.
The Catanduanes Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed a resolution in March 2017, urging the SC to immediately relieve Contreras of her appointment to the two RTCs due to “lack of trust and confidence” in the performance of her duty in connection with the ’shabu laboratory’ case.