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DAD DEFENDS SON. Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson explains the drug possession and traffficking charges his son Rep. Ronald Singson is facing in Hong Kong during an interview with Philippine Daily Inquirer Thursday. Video by INQUIRER.net's Cathy Miranda


Chavit fears his son may suffer brunt of HK anger

By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr., Nancy C. Carvajal
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:29:00 01/15/2011

Filed Under: Illegal drugs, Foreign affairs & international relations, Grandstand Hostage, Crime and Law and Justice, Celebrities, Music

MANILA, Philippines?Ilocos Sur Governor Luis ?Chavit? Singson is worried that his son, facing drug trafficking charges in Hong Kong, could suffer the brunt of China?s anger over the botched police rescue of a seized tourist bus at the Quirino Grandstand.

?I?m afraid that my son?s case would be used as an example by the Chinese authorities who are still fuming over the hostage incident. But I?m still optimistic we can get a favorable ruling,? Singson said in an interview with the Inquirer on Thursday night.

Rep. Ronald Singson was nabbed at the customs arrival hall of the Hong Kong International Airport on his way to Macau on July 11, 2010, after 26.1 grams of cocaine and two tablets of Valium were found in his possession.

A month before that incident, a disgruntled Manila policeman hijacked a tourist bus and eight Hong Kong tourists were killed in a bloody rescue operation by Manila policemen.

The botched rescue attempt sparked outrage among Chinese and Hong Kong government officials.

Dire consequences

Singson told the Inquirer that he seriously thought of leading the negotiations with hostage taker Rolando Mendoza?who was also killed in the police attack?because he was confident he could convince Mendoza to release his victims.

Singson said he feared early on that the incident would have dire consequences on his son?s case.

Singson said he and his son?s lawyers thought that the Wan Chai District Court Judge in Hong Kong was treating the case ?differently? from other drug trafficking cases because the defendant was a Philippine official and that the Hong Kong public was all eyes on the case.

Wrong advice

Singson claimed that the facts of the case showed that his son was clearly not a drug trafficker because the cocaine was kept in a clear glass bottle and not in plastic sachets. He said his son admitted to drug possession at the onset because he thought that he was only liable for possession and would be deported back to Manila.

The governor said he got wrong advice.

Singson also pointed out that the Hong Kong authorities were quick to pin his son on trafficking charges after weighing the cocaine with the bottle.

When it was later weighed without the bottle, the drug quantity was reduced from 12 grams to 6.6 grams, which made Rep. Singson eligible to go out on bail, although he has to remain in Hong Kong.

Verdict on Jan. 26

Singson said his son pleaded guilty to possession of the drug for personal use so he would remain out on bail while awaiting the judge?s verdict on Jan. 26.

He said his son?s lawyers would argue before the judge that the lawmaker was not a drug user but was caught in ?a set-up.?

Although he knew that there were plenty of disbelievers, Singson said that he would not get tired of doing the media rounds to prove that his son was clearly a victim in the case.

?I knew this was a set-up because even before he arrived in Immigration, he was already asked to step aside. It?s a frame-up, probably by political or business rivals. They are many,? Singson said.

?He is a victim?

Singson insisted that his son was not a drug addict because all of his children were subjected to regular drug tests??not only blood and urine but also hair samples are checked??along with the employees of the family-owned bus line.

He said he had taken special interest in his son?s case because he believed in his innocence.

He said his only request to the public and his son?s peers in Congress was to wait for the Hong Kong court?s ruling before passing judgment.

?If they remove him now, what if he was absolved? Can he get his seat back? It is unfair to him because I know he is a victim,? Singson said.

No visit by Jomari

Singson complained about the lack of support for his son from friends in the House of Representatives and in show business.

Singson, who said that he, too, has had his share of fair-weather friends, confirmed that actor Jomari Yllana had not gone to see his son in Hong Kong.

?He has not visited him and he has not talked to me, but [he] texted me that he would pray for Ronald?s speedy release,? Singson said.

The governor said that after what happened to his son, he realized that friends were just there when it was convenient and profitable for them to be around.

Business partners

Yllana and the young Singson had been known to be close friends since the 1990s, and were business partners engaged in producing big concerts featuring foreign talents.

Singson admitted that Yllana was supposed to go with his son to Hong Kong but backed out due to previous commitments.

Two days before the congressman?s arrest, the pair successfully produced a show headlined by foreign artists.

But Singson also said that it was his son?s friends in Hong Kong who had raised half of his bail bond and vouched for him as a no-flight risk before the island state court.

Copyright 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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