Shabu financier cries: I’m innocentBy Ador Vincent Mayol
Cebu Daily News
AN agitated Calvin Tan rushed to his lawyer’s side right after a guilty verdict was announced in the mega shabu laboratory case.
He demanded for his passport.
“It’s so unfair,” he cried. “I’m innocent.”
Lawyer Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu had to calm him down. She said they would file a motion for reconsideration on the judge’s decision within 15 days.
Tan, a 36-year-old Chinese national, was confirmed by the court to be the financier of the secret shabu laboratory in Mandaue City.
“Maraming na-surprise. Hindi lang ako. (Many people, not just me, were surprised with the ruling.) I must be acquitted,” he told reporters.
Tan was accompanied by his wife in the courthouse, where the decision was read out.
For almost two hours, the 12 men accused of manufacturing 675 kg of illegal drugs in a shabu laboratory in barangay Umapad, Mandaue City, had to stand and listen.
All were silent. Some bowed down their heads.
Clerk of court Tranne Ferrer started reading the 277-page decision at 9:40 a.m. She read selected portions until 11: 20 a.m.
Simon Lao, whose testimony as a state witness was his ticket to freedom, was not present in the court room yesterday.
He stayed at the Cebu provincial jail where he has been detained since 2004.
The court ordered his release. His lawyer Alex Tolentino said Lao won’t remain in Cebu.
Lao’s confession nailed Tan and the other accused.
Tan was dressed in the organge prison T-shirt as detainee of the Cebu provincial jail, where he has been staying since 2005.
The others wore yellow prisoners T-shirt which identified them inmates of the Mandaue City jail.
Tan was arrested by customs officers in HongKong late 2004 at a ferry terminal bound for Macau with several bank passbooks, $820,000 in US and Hong Kong notes and a small quantity of shabu and cocaine.
“All testimonies are lies,” said Malaysian Liew Kam Song later, referring in paticular to Lao’s revelations to the court.
Another accused Lopez blamed his counsel for not filing the appropriate pleadings.
Full news media coverage was assured in the sala of Regional Trial Court Judge Marilyn Yap of Branch 28.
People entering the Hall of Justice were frisked. Bags were also checked.
Lawyers of the accused sat in front.
They included Noel Archival, Vicente Fernandez, Hector Fernandez, Lorenzo Paylado, Alex Tolentino and Dalawampu.
The court said Lao’s confession helped the prosecution establish the role of the other accused in the operation of the shabu laboratory inside Caps R Us warehouse.
“Each of them performed the part assigned to him in the manufacturing process,” Judge Yap said.
Tags: Illegal drugs