DOJ indicts Richard Chen, Kenneth Dong, Mark Taguba, among others
MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday cleared several customs officials, including former Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, in charges over the controversial P6.4-billion "shabu" shipment from China that slipped past the Manila port in May.
Aside from Faeldon, the DOJ also dismissed charges against resigned Bureau of Customs (BOC) Directors Milo Maestrecampo and Neil Estrella, Intelligence Officers Joel Pinawin and Oliver Valiente, lawyers Jeleena Magsuci and Philip Maronilla, and personnel Alexandra Ventura, Randolph Cabansag, Dennis Maniego, Dennis Cabildo and John Edillor.
The DOJ said the panel of prosecutors dismissed the charges against the respondents for the failure of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to support allegations against them.
The PDEA earlier filed charges of conspiring to import illegal drugs and coddling drug traffickers, graft, obstruction of justice, and negligence and tolerance against Faeldon and other BOC personnel.
"Further, the evidence adduced by the PDEA in support of the charges were insufficient to establish probable case. Thus, the Panel is constrained to take into consideration the defense raised by the respondents," the DOJ said in a statement.
The justice department, meanwhile, found probable cause to charge several for “importation of dangerous drugs”: Chen Ju Long a.k.a. “Richard Tan” or “Richard Chen,” owner of the Valenzuela warehouse where the shabu shipment was found, businessman Dong Yi Shen Xi a.k.a. “Kenneth Dong”, Li Guang Feng a.k.a. “Manny Li,” customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba II, EMT Trading owner Eirene Mae Tatad, broker Teejay Marcellana, Chen Min, Jhu Ming Jhun and Chen Rong Huan, and other unidentified individuals known only as John Doe, Jane Doe and George Doe.
The DOJ filed the case against Chen and his fellow respondents at the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela City, with no bail recommended.
The shabu shipment had triggered congressional inquiries and exposed alleged corruption within the BOC.