Manila court junks Taguba motion seeking to declare drug cargo evidence ‘inadmissible’
The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46 has denied the motion filed by Customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba II that sought to disallow evidence on the seizure of illegal drugs in the P6.4 billion shabu shipment from China to be used in court.
In a hearing on Friday, RTC Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa, however, gave Taguba’s camp five days to file a motion for reconsideration on the court’s initial decision.
Taguba’s counsel, Atty. Raymond Fortun, asserted in an ambush interview that the procedure of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) operatives in confiscating the evidence was being questioned in Congress.
“May mga issues and questions tungkol sa pamamaraan ng Bureau of Customs para ma-seize at mabuksan ‘yung mga cylinders na allegedly naglalaman ng shabu doon sa container allegedly na nanggaling doon sa inilabas ni Mark Taguba,” Fortun told reporters.
“Mayroong tinatawag (na) prinsipyo, na tinatawag na fruits of the poisonous tree. Ang ibig sabihin po nun, kapag ang isang ebidensya ay nakuha sa illegal na pamamaraan o hindi sumunod sa pamantayan ng ating batas, ay lahat ng ebidensya na iyan ay nagiging inadmissible,” he said.
Last year, the House dangerous drugs committee faulted BOC officials for committing “serious procedural lapses” in seizing the drug shipment which could “jeopardize” the chances of a case in court.
The panel pointed out that the failure to coordinate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in raiding the warehouse was a violation Section 87 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Aside from Taguba, EMT Trading owner Eirene May Tatad was also present during the hearing.
The criminal cases against Taguba, Tatad, and 10 others were filed before the trial court after the Department of Justice (DOJ) found probable cause to indict them for violation of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Others charged before the court were Li Guang Feng alias Manny Li, Dong Yi Shen Xi alias Kenneth Dong, Teejan Marcellana, Chen I-Min, Jhu Ming Jhyun, Chen Rong Juan and three John Does. /kga
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