Lawyer of warehouse owner in shabu shipment case denies bribery claim
Businessman Chen Ju Long also known as Richard Tan, one of the respondents in the case of the P6.4-billion crystal meth shipment that slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BOC), denied that he had bribed an Immigration official when he tried to leave the country, his lawyer said Saturday.
“Richard Tan has not bribed any immigration officials supposedly to leave the country,” Tan’s legal counsel, Abraham Gutoc, said in a statement.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Thursday that Tan, which was included in a lookout bulletin order in connection with the case, tried to pay immigration officials when he tried to leave the country in November.
Tan is the owner of the warehouse in Valenzuela City where the smuggled P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China was found.
Gutoc, however, said Tan “did not intend to abscond and escape Philippine jurisdiction.”
He said that Tan, a businessman, is a freight forwarder and has regular trips abroad. And on the mentioned date, he was scheduled for a business trip in China but refused to depart by Immigration officials “because he was told that his name was included by the Department of Justice in the Immigration look out bulletin.”
“After said refusal, he has not tried to leave for abroad again,” Gutoc explained.
The lawyer said that if his client were able to leave the country, “he has all the intentions of returning to the Philippines since this is where his family and businesses are situated.”
“His life is here in the Philippines. Moreover, he didn’t even know that he is required to get a clearance from the Department of Justice [DOJ] to travel abroad since neither a hold departure order issued by a court or a warrant has been issued against him,” Gutoc said.
“Again, he didn’t even know that he was placed in the immigration look out bulletin as this was done by the DOJ unilaterally without informing him,” he added.
He also pointed out that on December 11, 2017, Tan went to the DOJ and submitted his counter-affidavit in relation to the case filed against him by the BOC.
“Again, Richard Tan is the whistleblower in this incident and if not for him, the drugs concealed and illegally imported to the Philippines would not have been discovered,” Gutoc said. /jpv
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