DOJ: Bail order bad for war vs drugs
Saying the short, two-page court order would have a “deleterious effect” on the war against illegal drugs, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked a judge to reconsider her decision allowing two Canadians caught with P100 million worth of drugs to post bail.
In a pleading filed on Thursday, Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera asked Judge Josephine Advento-Vito Cruz of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 135 to “immediately reverse” her June 22 order allowing James Clayton Riach and Ali Memar Mortazavi Shirazi to post bail.
The two were among four Canadians arrested on Jan. 8 in separate raids conducted on three upscale condominiums around Metro Manila. The operation yielded P100 million worth of cocaine, methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu” and ecstasy.
Riach and Shirazi are facing trial for drug possession in the Makati court while the two others—Barry Espadilla and Christian Olazo—are facing separate charges in another court.
Riach and Shirazi remain in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation despite the release order as authorities were still hoping for a legal remedy to keep them in detention. Both are said to have links with a notorious Mexican drug cartel.
“The court committed grave and rank error in issuing the June 22 order,” Navera said in a 14-page motion for reconsideration. He told the judge that “there [was] no harm in admitting the stark failure” of the court in granting the drug suspects bail, “assuming it [was] still objective, fair and impartial.”
“The order may be a short two pages but its deleterious effects on the government’s war on drugs is still being felt and cannot be measured,” Navera added.
He asked the court to recall the release order and issue another commitment order to ensure that the two remain under Philippine custody to face trial.
In granting the accused’s petition for bail, the judge said that “evidence so far offered by the prosecution does not strongly establish the guilt of both accused.”
It was a reversal of her March 20 ruling where she said there was “no sufficient basis to allow both accused to post bail” based on her “careful evaluation” of the same set of evidence.
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