Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. is pressing Congress to investigate the move by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the charges filed against an alleged ring leader of the Binondo drug syndicate despite a strong case presented by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) against the suspect.
Barzaga, the vice president of the National Unity Party (NUP), said the dismissal of the charges againt Mark Sy Tan, an alleged drug ring leader, appears questionable considering that the PDEA had submitted records showing a money trail of the suspect’s illegal activities.
“The DoJ is simply letting the alleged leader of the Binondo drug syndicate off the hook by dismissing the case,” said Barzaga in filing House Resolution 189 calling for a probe of the incident.
House Resolution 189 directs the House committee on dangerous drugs to conduct an inquiry into the questionable dismissal of the case against Tan. The House leadership has referred the resolution to the committee on rules.
The PDEA last year filed charges of conspiracy to sell illegal drugs against Tan, whom it describes as a “big fish” in the illegal drugs trade. The agency presented the necessary evidence, including money trail records during the conduct of the preliminary investigation of the charges before the DOJ.
In a resolution released in April last year, the DOJ approved the filing of criminal charges against Tan. But in a new ruling released last month, the DOJ reversed itself and dismissed the criminal complaint against Tan despite the recommendations of investigating prosecutors showing probable cause to file the case in court.
Tan was arrested on July 18, 2012 at the Ninoy Aquino Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after a follow-up operation conducted by the PDEA.
The arrest was made following PDEA’s buy-bust operation in February 2012 in which a certain Clarence Chen Go was caught selling a kilo of shabu for P3.6 million to an undercover PDEA agent. Go pointed to Tan as the leader of the Binondo drug syndicate.
According to reports, the poseur buyer in the buy-bust operation deposited P360,000 to a bank account apparently belonging to Tan as part of the undercover drug deal.
Tan’s prosecution was marred with controversy as he later on accused the PDEA agents and officials of allegedly extorting money from him during his arrest. A separate preliminary investigation on this case is still pending in the DOJ.
The DOJ later accepted Tan’s alibi that he thought the P360,000 cash deposit to his bank account came from a client in his money transfer business and not from sales by the syndicate, as alleged by PDEA.