Foreigners arrested by Singson face trial on drug raps
MANILA, Philippines—Four foreigners arrested by Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson at his house two weeks ago now face trial on drug charges in a Quezon City court.
Charged with use of dangerous drugs under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 were Britons James Gates, 22, and Ross Barnaby McLeod, 18, and Australian Arthur Murray Nash, 19. Another British national, Jack McLeod, 19, is charged with possession of dangerous drugs.
The charges were filed by assistant city prosecutor Irene Resurrecion, who found probable cause to indict the respondents in court.
The foreigners were arrested on the morning of Jan. 13 by Singson himself at his house at Corinthian Gardens in Barangay Ugong Norte.
In a five-page resolution, Resurrecion said the foreigner’s defense would be best ventilated during the course of the trial.
“After all, preliminary investigation is only summary in nature. Suffice it to state that there is evidence on record against respondents as reflected in the laboratory test results submitted by the police officer,” the prosecutor said.
The governor claimed he smelled illegal drugs and upon searching the rooms, he found the foreigners and recovered hashish from Jack, a plastic pack of rolling tobacco Club 69 American blend from Nash; 4 pieces of rolling paper from Ross and 11 pieces cigarette filter with one unconsumed cigarette from Gates.
Singson immediately called the police and turned the foreigners over to the Eastwood police station.
An initial laboratory report showed that the respondents tested positive for methamphetamine and THC metabolites, an indication of illegal drug intake.
In their counter-affidavit, the foreigners, assisted by lawyer Elizabeth Macaibay, vehemently denied the accusations and said no drug paraphernalia were seized from them except for some tobacco from Nash and a cigarette from Gates.
They claimed that they were inside the bedroom of one of Singson’s sons when they decided to go home that morning.
They met the governor on the stairs of the house and were frisked by the governor’s bodyguard before they were turned over to police.