Press Release
April 28, 2018


Senator Richard J. Gordon yesterday welcomed a Manila trial court's decision to order the issuance of hold departure orders (HDO) against the six foreigners indicted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China that slipped past port inspections last year.

Gordon said he is glad that the Executive and the Judiciary have taken cognizance of the recommendations made by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which he chairs, in the report he submitted after conducting an investigation into the controversy.

"I am glad that the Executive and the Judiciary are using our report to file charges against those who should be held liable for the illegal act. This shows that our investigations in the Blue Ribbon are bearing fruit," he said. Finding merit in the prosecution's motion,

Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa of the Manila Regional Trial Court's Branch 46 ordered the release of HDOs against Chinese nationals Richard Chen, Manny Li, Kenneth Dong and Chen Rong Huan and Taiwanese citizens Chen I-Min and Jhu Ming Jyun.

The six foreigners are accused of drug importation in violation of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 at the Manila court. They also face a transportation and delivery of dangerous drugs case before a Valenzuela court.

Last March, the Ombudsman also upheld plunder, direct bribery, and graft charges against former Immigration Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles, as well as Macau-based gaming tycoon Jack Lam, and Lam's alleged liaison Wenceslao Sombero in connection with the P50-million Bureau of Immigration (BI) corruption scandal that occurred in 2016.

Argosino and Robles were arrested at the Sandiganbayan, where they posted bail for the charges against them. They were brought to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City where they are now detained.

Gordon also called on the Executive branch to review the other recommendations in relation to the accountability of Customs officials in connection with the smuggling of the shabu shipment.

"I welcome the issuance of HDOs against the foreign nationals implicated in the smuggling attempt. However, the DOJ should also study the charges we recommended against Customs officials at that time because it is impossible that the smuggling attempt could have been made without the involvement of Customs officials," he said.

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