By By Fernan A. Gianan
The SC ruling on shabu lab case venue
posted 23-Apr-2018  ·  
1,469 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

Our apologies to contributors who sent articles for publication in the Tribune issue this week as well as the previous issue. The lack of available space meant that their articles would see print in the April 25 issue.


This corner was furnished a copy of the Petition for Review filed by beleaguered NBI senior agent Atty. Augusto Eric Isidoro with the Department of Justice following the latter’s finding of probable cause against Isidoro for conspiracy to manufacture illegal drugs along with several Chinese nationals.

The petition contends that the DOJ senior assistant state prosecutor Alexander Suarez seriously erred in finding probable cause to indict Isidoro.

Describing the allegations of witness Ernesto Tabor Jr. as “all lies” riddled with inconsistencies, very contrary to experience, and sans corroboration by at least one other witness, Isidoro pointed out that the witness never offered proof that the respondents actually knew and met each other and conspired to manufacture shabu at the Palta Small warehouse.

The now detained agent said Tabor could not even give a proper chronology of events related to his story, particularly as to when the warehouse was constructed and whether there was already an existing shabu lab by January 2015 before the warehouse was actually constructed beginning December of the same year. He cited the testimony of “architect” Rudy Leonardo before the House Dangerous Drugs Committee that he does not know Tabor at all despite the latter’s claim that he transacted with Leonardo.

Atty. Isidoro also emphasized that contrary to Tabor’s statement that in January 2015 when he and the Chinese arrived in Virac, they were very busy with the shabu lab planning and delivery of the drugs during the whole year, he failed to mention in his affidavit the fact that he (Tabor) was detained at the BJMP Virac district jail from Jan. 19, 2015 to April 10, 2015 for possession and sale of illegal drugs.

Even if the DOJ junks the petition for review, the credibility of witness Tabor would be the focus of the defense especially his alleged inconsistencies and inaccurate statements.

According to two members of the inter-agency task force which delved deeply into the case last year, the reason it was taking the DOJ too long to file the case was the lack of another witness to corroborate Tabor’s testimony. The probers had to backtrack Tabor’s alleged movements and check the veracity of his claims, particularly the places and events he mentioned.


On the other hand, the Supreme Court recently asked RTC Judge Lelu Contreras to comment on the DOJ’s motion for change of venue.

Then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III had questioned the impartiality of the judge and claimed that the accused are politically connected and influential in the locality, thus the need to insulate proceedings from influence or threats from any groups associated with the accused.

In her reply, Judge Contreras criticized Aguirre for being more concerned of the state prosecutors than the witnesses, since the latter are more secured in Catanduanes than somewhere else.

The testimony of Tabor being vital in the prosecution of the shabu lab cases, Contreras stated, it is his life that must be secured and his safety the paramount concern of the prosecution.

All parties now await the decision of Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio on the transfer of trial venue, as on it also hinges the request of Isidoro for NBI custody.


THE TALKING CLOCK. Proudly showing off his new apartment so some friends late one night, a drunk leads the way to his bedroom. When they get there, they see that there’s a big brass gong taking pride of place.

“What’s with the gong?” one of the friends asks.

“That’s no gong,” the drunk replies. “It’s a talking clock.”

“Oh, yeah? How does it work then?” the friend asks.

“Watch,” the drunk says. He moves to the corner of the room, picks up a hammer and pounds the gong as loudly as he can.

Suddenly, someone on the other side of the wall starts screaming, “What the hell do you think you’re doing? It’s three o’clock in the bloody morning!”

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