The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Tuesday filed a criminal complaint against former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and several others before the Department of Justice in connection with the P6.4-billion shabu shipment that slipped into the country in May.
The charges include conspiring to import illegal drugs and coddling drug traffickers, penalized under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002; graft; obstruction of justice; and, negligence and tolerance, penalized under Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code.
Other respondents include resigned officials Milo Maestrecampo and Neil Anthony Estrella; intelligence officers Joel Pinawin and Oliver Valiente; Manila International Container Port District collector lawyer Vincent Phillip Maronilla; Customs employees Alexandra Ventura, Randolph Cabansag, Dennis Maniego, Dennis Cabildo and John Edillor; and Atty. Jeline Maree Magsuci.
"The said incompetence and corruption effectively shielded and facilitated the escape of Chen Ju Long, the silent architect of the scheme, and prevented his immediate arrest and prospective prosecution for the importation of 602.279 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or 'shabu'," the complaint read.
"[S]aid respondents should equally bear the burden and be accountable for the importation and bringing into the Philippines of the 602.279 kilograms of 'shabu,'" it added.
Separate charges were filed for illegal drugs importation against businessman Chen Ju Long, also known as "Richard Tan" and "Richard Chen," owner of Hongfei Logistics Inc., the warehouse in Valenzuela City where the shabu was seized; Manny Li; Kenneth Dong; Mark Taguba II; Teejay Marcellana; Emily Dee; Eirene May Tatad; Chen I-Min; Jhu Ming Jyun; and Chen Rong Juan.
Hong Fei Logistics officers Genelita Arayan, Dennis Nocom, Zhang Hong, Rene Palle, Richard Rebistual, and Mary Rose de la Cruz were charged with violations of Section 30 (criminal liability of officers of partnerships, corporations) of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
The illegal importation became the subject of legislative investigations by the Senate and House of Representatives, where Faeldon and other customs officials have been accused of pocketing "tara" or bribes to clear the release of shipments.