NBI holding 3 drug suspects despite court’s release order
Risking the judiciary’s ire, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has refused to free three drug trafficking suspects—two of them Canadians—despite the court orders for their release.
In an interview Thursday, NBI Director Virgilio Mendez explained that the agency was still exhausting all legal remedies to keep detainees James Clayton Riach, Barry Gene Espadilla and Christian Jose Olazo, who were all being linked to a Mexican drug cartel.
Referring to Riach’s case, Mendez said: “We respect the order of the court. But in the meantime, we cannot release the suspect pending consultation with the Department of Justice and the prosecutors in the case.”
He was referring to a June 22 order issued by Makati City Judge Josephine Advento-Vito Cruz, who approved the release of Riach after the Canadian national posted bail at P500,000.
Earlier, Espadilla and Olazo asked the Court of Appeals to cite the NBI for contempt over its refusal to release them. This was after the CA granted their request to quash the search warrant presented as evidence by the NBI agents who arrested them in a raid on a Taguig City condominium unit in January.
The same resolution ordered the bureau to release the Canadian Espadilla and his alleged Filipino accomplice, Olazo.
When arrested in separate operations, the three suspects allegedly yielded a cache of assorted drugs—including cocaine, “shabu” and ecstacy—estimated by the NBI to be worth P100 million.
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