Latest Stories

High court cuts prison term of Chinese drug convicts


MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court has reduced the sentence meted out to two Chinese men from reclusion perpetua (life) to just a maximum of 12 years in prison, citing weaknesses in the prosecution evidence that led to their conviction of drug trafficking in 2004.

In a decision dated January 9, the high court’s third division ruled that the prosecution failed to prove that  Hong Yen E alias Benjie Ong and Tsien Tsien Chua sold two kilos of shabu worth P1.2 million to an undercover agent of the National Bureau of Investigation during a buy-bust operation.

While clearing them of the charge of selling narcotics, the Supreme Court said Hong and Chua were still guilty of illegal possession of prohibited drugs, a lighter offense.

“To prove the crime of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, the prosecution’s evidence should establish the following elements: (1) The identity of the buyer and seller, object and consideration; and (2) The delivery of the thing sold and the payment. Absent any of these two elements, the prosecution’s case must fail,” said the decision penned by Justice Roberto Abad.

Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., the division chair; and member justices Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza and Marvic Leonen concurred.

The justices cited the testimony given in the lower court by NBI agent Roy Rufino Sunega, who said that right after Chua handed him a bag containing illegal drugs, he was just about to hand over the marked money to Hong as payment when the rest of the NBI agents moved in for the arrest.

The NBI Narcotics Division earlier placed Hong under surveillance after receiving reports that he was engaged in drug pushing. The sting operation was set on September 5, 2001, at a restaurant in Manila.

The suspects were charged with selling prohibited drugs in violation of Republic Act No. 6425 of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, and were later found guilty by the Manila Regional Trial Court in April 2004. They were sentenced to reclusion perpetua (20 to 40 years) and ordered to pay P500,000 each in fines.

The two convicts elevated the case to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeals rejected their appeal in August 2007.

“Absence of proof of consummation [of the sale], the accused may be acquitted for illegal sale of drugs. Nonetheless, accused may be convicted for ‘illegal possession of prohibited drugs’—penalized under Section 8 of RA 6425—as possession is necessarily included in the crime charged,” the high court ruled.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Chinese , Crime , drug trafficking , Illegal Drugs , Judiciary

  • Hey_Dudes

    Are our courts have soft spot in their hearts when it comes to criminals local and foreigners?  While true,  evidence of wrongdoings is part and parcel of legal operations, our judges should not handcuff police agency on account of technicalities be it minor or otherwise?  If judges continue treating criminals this way, why should police officers bother arresting anyone?

  • rjimenez1226

    The Filipino people  should express their anger against these High Court judges who keep on releasing drug offenders. If the Filipino people shows enough anger and  reaction to this kind of  softjustice, these High Court judges would think twice, thrice before issuing decisions that ckearly harm our national security and  threatens us with widespread drug addiction. Ibitay ang mga justices na walang pakundangang nag-r-release ng mga drug peddlers.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XALR35ENV2XKV327BZGZ7Q5Z5Q Ernesto

    magkanong binayad,pinakawalang kwenta talaga ang hustisya sa ating bansa,drug convicts pinalabas lang nang ganoon na lang pag sa china yan patay ang abutin mo.iba talaga sa atin.tama sabi ni erap na hoodlum in robes.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BFOPP2LDSFJFL6KVGA52SDIVHA John

    We need harsher punishment against drug lords and the harshest punishment if done by foreigners.

  • http://twitter.com/Zambatako Rodrigo Villarubia

    All Chinese drug manufacturers and involve in illegal drug sales must be put to death, apply the Chinese laws to the bulok na INTSIK dito.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  • Why are Americans obsessed with missing plane?
  • Napoles to have surgery on Tuesday – report
  • Mayor’s assassination linked to black sand mining controversy
  • Initial batch of Etihad passengers tested negative for MERS-CoV
  • Sports

  • PBA D-League: Waves edge skidding Superchargers
  • Ilad’s last-second basket lifts Gems over Bakers
  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • Marketplace