A REGIONAL Trial Court (RTC) in Valenzuela City has dropped the charges against nine suspects who were allegedly involved in a shipment of P6.4-billion worth of the illegal substance shabu (methampethamine), citing “forum shopping” by the prosecutors.
RTC Branch 284 Presiding Judge Arthur B. Melicor, in an order dated April 23, granted accused Mark G. Taguba II, Teejay A. Marcellana, and Chen Ju Long’s petitions to dismiss the case.
Mr. Melicor said in his ruling that state prosecutors committed forum shopping when they filed separate charges for importation of illegal drugs against the respondents in a Manila court and another Valenzuela court, with the latter already dismissed for lack of jurisdiction as the alleged crime was committed in Manila.
“Splitting the act of importation in this case into two offenses, importation and delivery/transportation, violates the well-honored policy against multiplicity of suits,” said Mr. Melicor.
The three, along with co-accused Li Guang Feng, Dong Yi Shen, Kenneth Dong, Eirene A. Tatad, Chen I-Min, Jhu Ming Jyun, and Chen Rong Huan, were charged with violation of Section 5, in relation to Section 26(a) of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 for transportation and delivery of illegal drugs. They have also been cleared of charges. —Dane Angelo M. Enerio