Ex-PDEA exec, Chinese 'asset' walk free after drug charges dropped

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Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino and Yan Yi Shuo

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 19) — A former head of a unit in the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and his Chinese companion are free men now that the Justice Department dropped the drug charges against them.

Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino walked out of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Custodial Center Thursday afternoon. Yan Yi Shuo was freed from the Manila City Jail Annex in Taguig City Friday morning.

A Manila court on May 18 ordered the release of Marcelino and Yan, in response to a resolution issued by the DOJ clearing them of possession of drugs charges under Sec. 11, Article 2 of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Read: DOJ drops drug case vs. ex-PDEA exec, Chinese asset

Clad in a Marine uniform, Marcelino turned emotional as he expressed joy that his innocence was again proven.

"Di ko alam kung paano ko magpapasalamat sa mga taong nagtiwala sa akin, patuloy na sumuporta at nagtiwala (I don't know how to thank everyone who trusted me, who kept supporting and trusting me), especially to the Armed Forces of the Philippines under General Eduardo Año and to the Public Attorney's Office," Marcelino said.

"I will just be waiting whatever instruction the Armed Forces would give me after this. As a soldier, we only go where we are told to go and do what we are told to do," he added.

Marcelino said he has forgiven the policemen and PDEA officers who arrested him and has no plans of filing charges against them. Yan, meanwhile, admitted he is angry and is considering filing a case.  


Marcelino and Yan were nabbed during a drug raid of a suspected drug laboratory in Manila on January 21 last year. It yielded P320 million (US$6.4 million) worth of shabu.

Marcelino denied links to the drug trade and insisted he was there to confirm an intelligence report, as part of a top-secret mission sanctioned by the military. He said Yan was his asset, who had served as government asset for around 10 years. 

Days after his arrest, Marcelino alleged he was "framed," saying his arrest and detention were "borne solely by Director General (Arturo) Cacdac," who was then PDEA chief.

After several months in detention, Marcelino and Yan were released in June 2016 for insufficiency of evidence.

But in September, the DOJ again slapped them with an illegal drugs case.

The two then turned themselves in to authorities January this year after a warrant was issued for their arrest.

But the Philippine National Police and the PDEA are not giving up the fight. They had a case conference on Marcelino's case on Thursday and said they will exert all possible legal remedies to prove errors in the DOJ decision.

Read: The curious case of Lt. Col. Marcelino

CNN Philippines' Eimor Santos contributed to this report.