Manila court turns down Mark Taguba’s bail plea
MANILA, Philippines — The Manila City Regional Trial Court has turned down the bid of the two accused in the importation of P6.4-billion worth of drugs to post bail.
In a resolution made public Thursday, the Manila Court said it denied the petitions for bail filed by former Customs broker Mark Taguba and importer Eirene Mae Tatad as the evidence against the two is strong.
“At this point, the prosecution was able to establish that the evidence against accused Mark Ruben Taguban II and Eirene Mae Tatad to be strong, both as to importation of illegal drugs as well as the conspiracy of the accused to further said act,” read the court ruling.
“Thus, given these pieces of evidence against the accused at this point, the Court denies the petitions for bail of the accused Taguba and Tatad,” the resolution further stated.
The court said Taguba admitted he processed and facilitated the entry of the shipment which contained illegal drugs while Tatad admitted in one of her pleadings that she permitted her trading firm, EMT, to be used as a dummy consignee in the shipment for a “minimal fee.”
“Consistent with the doctrine on implied conspiracy, these actions on the part of both accused are sufficient to prove the existence of a ‘concurrence sentiment,’ regardless of any proof that an actual agreement took place,” the resolution stated.
The court, however, pointed out that the denial of their bail petitions does not determine the outcome of the case.
“This Court is merely confronted with two petitions for bail and not a disposition of the case after a trial on the merits. There is still a long way to go, and there will also be other evidence that will eventually be presented by the parties,” it stressed.
“It must be emphasized that the Court does not try the merits or enter into an inquiry as to the weight that ought to be given to the evidence against the accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial or on what further evidence may be offered herein,” it added.
Taguba’s counsel, Raymond Fortun, said they “strongly disagree with the court’s decision” and that they will file a motion for reconsideration.
Aside from Taguba and Tatad, another person accused in the case who is now under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is Filipino-Chinese businessman Dong Yi Shen, alias Kenneth Dong.
Six other people accused in the case are still at large, namely Chen Ju Long, aka Richard Tan; Li Guang Feng, aka Manny Li; Teejay Marcellana, Chen I-Min, Jhu Ming Jyun, and Chen Rong Huan.
The DOJ initially filed the drug charges before Branch 284 of the Valenzuela RTC, but its presiding judge Arthur Melicor junked the charges for transportation of illegal drugs.
Melicor said the state prosecutors committed forum shopping since the filing of the case resembles the one it has filed against the same set of respondents and with the same arguments before the Manila RTC.
After the dismissal at the Valenzuela RTC, the DOJ then filed the case for the importation of illegal drugs against the respondents before the Manila RTC. /ee
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