Respondents in 990K drug haul given until May 30 to answer raps

By Benjamin Pulta

April 23, 2024, 7:12 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The 74 individuals implicated in the major drug haul in Tondo, Manila in 2022 which yielded 990 kilos of “shabu” have been given until May 30 to answer the charges following the start of a formal preliminary investigation, a Department of Justice (DOJ) official said Tuesday.

Speaking during the Bagong Pilipinas news forum, Justice Undersecretary Margarita Gutierrez said 59 out of the 74 individuals charged by the police were personally present during the start of the preliminary investigation last April 19.

"Layon ng preliminary investigation na personal na iharap sa 74 na respondents ang mga reklamong inihain laban sa kanila. Binigyan sila ng hanggang May 30 para maghain ng counter-affidavit para sagutin ang mga kasong ibinabato laban sa kanila (The preliminary investigation aims to present to the respondents the charges filed against them. They were given until May 30 to file their counter affidavits)," Gutierrez said.

The suspects were accused of violation of Republic Act (RA) 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices; RA 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2022; falsification; perjury; false testimony; malversation of public property under the Revised Penal Code (RPC); and obstruction of justice under Presidential Decree 1829.

Gutierrez said a second preliminary investigation hearing is scheduled on May 2 for those respondents unable to attend the proceedings and receive the charge sheet.

Last December a panel of prosecutors was constituted to handle additional complaints in the Oct 2022 drug operation that yielded 990 kg. of shabu worth PHP6.7 billion.

Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. earlier revealed that ranking police officials were seen in video footage of the operation, which led to the arrest of dismissed police Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo Jr. and nine others.

Abalos said some police officers took 42 kg. of shabu before the inventory of the confiscated 990 kilos of illegal drugs based on the CCTV footage. The stolen shabu was later recovered. (PNA)