By Ria Fernandez
A Manila court has denied the motion to consolidate two drug smuggling cases of customs fixer Mark Taguba and his co-accused.
Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 21 Judge Alma Crispina Collado-Lacorte said “the consolidation is not feasible since the instant cases are customs cases which should be tried by Special Tax Courts.”
“Administrative Order No. 130-90 designated RTC branch 21 Manila as Special Tax Court to try and decide all violations of the National Internal Revenue Code, the Tariff and Customs Code and other related laws which are criminal in nature,” she explained.
Currently, the respondents face separate charges of violating the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) that stemmed from the P6.4-billion drug shipment allegedly from China in May 2017 before Branch 21 and 46.
In their motion, prosecutors wanted the cases consolidated and handled by Lacorte to avoid “repetitious presentation of evidence.”