Malaysian, Sino drug sellers get life terms
A Manila court has sentenced to life imprisonment two foreign nationals who were caught selling almost half a kilo of party drugs in a buy-bust operation in 2012.
In a decision dated Nov. 22, Judge Emilio Rodolfo Legaspi III of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 13 also ordered Chinese national Siu Ming Tat and Malaysian national Lee Yoong Hoew to pay P500,000 each for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
They were found guilty of selling 423.3 grams of ephedrine to P03 Ernesto Mabanglo, who was working undercover for the Philippine National Police’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force-Special Operations Unit.
The poseur buyer met Siu and Lee for the transaction in their room at China Town Hotel in Binondo, Manila, on July 16, 2012.
Lee and Siu denied the charges and claimed that policemen suddenly barged into the room where they had checked in and planted “evidence.”
But Legaspi noted that Mabanglo had positively identified Siu and Lee as the ones who sold to him one plastic bag containing the “white crystalline substances” for P1.3 million.
The judge further ruled: “Courts generally view the defenses of denial and alibi with disfavor on account of the facility with which an accused can concoct them to suit his defense.”
Legaspi also rejected the testimony of Merlyn Tandoy, a defense witness, who claimed that around the time of the drug bust Lee bought a plane ticket bound for Malaysia from Timberland Travel & Tours where she worked.
Tandoy, however, admitted in court that she did not personally transact with Lee, whom she could not even identify in court, the judge said.
Legaspi also cited “material alterations’’ in the records of Lee’s supposed transaction with the travel agency. “While accused Lee himself stated that the ticket he bought from a travel agency in Binondo on July 26, 2012 is an Air Asia ticket, Ms. Tandoy stated that her travel agency booked Lee in a Cebu Pacific flight to Malaysia.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.