By Rey Panaligan
The Manila regional trial court (RTC) has denied the petition for bail sought by customs broker Mark Ruben Taguba II and importer Eirene Mae Tatad on drugs charges filed against them in the importation of P6.4 billion shabu in 2017.
In a resolution written by Judge Reinelda Estacio Montesa, the RTC said:
“At this point, prosecution was able to establish that the evidence against accused Taguba II and Tatad to be strong, both as to importation of illegal drugs as well as the conspiracy of the accused to further such act. Thus given these pieces of evidence against the accused at this point, the court denies the petitions for bail of the accused Taguba II and Tatad.”
The trial court, however, said: “… it must be underscored that this resolution does not in any manner determine the ultimate outcome of this case. This court is merely confronted with two petitions for bail and not a disposition of the case after a trial on the merits. There is still a long way to go and there will also be other evidence that will eventually be presented by the parties.”
“It must be emphasized that the court does not try the merits or enter into an inquiry as to the weight that ought to be given to the evidence against the accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial or on what further evidence may be offered therein,” it stressed.
In the same resolution, the RTC noted that Taguba admitted that he processed and facilitated the entry of the shipment which contained illegal drugs. Tatad, the court said, admitted that she permitted her trading firm, EMT, to be used as a dummy consignee of the shipment.
“Consistent with the doctrine on implied conspiracy, these actions on the part of both accused are sufficient to prove the existence of a ‘concurrence in sentiment,’ regardless of any proof that an actual agreement took place,” it said.
Aside from Taguba and Tatad, another accused in the case is Filipino-Chinese businessman Dong Yi Shen, alias Kenneth Dong, who is now in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Six other accused, who are still at large are Chen Ju Long aka Richard Tan, Li Guang Feng aka Manny Li, Teejay Marcellana, Chen I-Min, Jhu Ming Jyun, and Chen Rong Huan.
Earlier, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had said all the accused conspired with each other in the shipment of the P6.4 billion worth of shabu in 2017 that slipped past the Bureau of Customs.