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Not so fast! Valenzuela court told to reverse ruling junking charges over P6.4B shabu mess

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Individuals involved in the controversial P6.4 billion shabu shipment last year are not yet off the hook.

This was after the state prosecutors appealed the ruling of the Valenzuela Regional Trial Court (RTC) asking the latter to reverse its decision dismissing criminals charges Chinese businessman Richard Tan and other respondents of the case.

Others whose criminal charges were dismissed include Manny Li, Kenneth Dong Yi, Customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba II, Eirene Mae Tatad, Teejay Marcellana, Chen I-Min, Jhu Ming Jyun, Chen Rong Huan, and three other still unidentified respondents.

Valenzuela RTC Branch 171 presiding judge Maria Nena Santos earlier ordered the dismissal of the criminal cases against Tan, who owned the warehouse where the shabu shipment was found, and several others for “lack of jurisdiction.”

The DOJ panel of prosecutors argued that the Valenzuela RTC has the authority and jurisdiction to hear and try the cases since the shabu shipment was discovered in Valenzuela.

The DOJ likewise insisted that the Valenzuela RTC has already “acquired and exercised jurisdiction” over the case when it issued an order dated November 24, 2017 for the conduct of an ocular inspection of the seized illegal drugs.

It also cited a Supreme Court ruling stating that “the court wherein any of the crime’s essential and material acts have been committed maintains jurisdiction to try the case; it being understood that the first court taking cognizance of the same excludes the other.”

DOJ prosecutors have likewise argued that the crime of importation “was not yet fully consummated” when the shabu shipment arrived at the Manila International Container Port in Tondo Manila as it’s contents at that time was not yet known to be illegal drugs.

“The ingredient of discovery, which is clearly material, relevant and which consummated or accomplished the crime of illegal importation of dangerous drugs in this case occurred in Valenzuela City,” the DOJ’s motion reads.