Senate cites Chinese nationals in contempt during ₱6B illegal drugs probe

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 9) — The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee cited Chinese nationals Richard Tan and Manny Li in contempt "for lying" during the Wednesday probe on the ₱6.4 billion worth of illegal drugs smuggled into the country from China.

"Upon order by the Senate President, until they tell us the whole story, they shall continue to be held in contempt and be held here or in Pasay Jail, depende what is safe for them," Gordon ordered.

Senators Tito Sotto and Ping Lacson filed for the motion to hold the Chinese nationals in contempt, after the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) reported inconsistencies in their accounts of a packing list detailing the items in the shipment.

"The original packing list came from Mr. Chen (Tan), and he gave it to Mr. Manny, and when Manny gave the list to Mr. (Kenneth) Dong, (there are) no more five cylinders your honor," stressed PDEA Regional Director Wilkins Villanueva.

Villanueva showed the paper reportedly given by Manny Li to Kenneth Dong.

Tan, whose Chinese name is Chen Ju Long, is the owner of Hong Fei Logistics, the warehouse where the drugs were found in. Li was his broker, and the translator of the packing list from Chinese to English.

Upon Li's translation, the information on the five cylinders containing 604 kilos of shabu worth ₱6.4 billion had reportedly disappeared.

Tan replied in Mandarin through an interpreter and called the Senate decision unfair.

"It's unfair daw to him because he just wants to let the local government know about this thing, this matter and then lahat ng, lahat daw ng kasalanan, napunta sa kanya. Kung alam lang niya, hindi na sana niya sabihin para parang tulong, ngayon na-involve siya sa kaso," the interpreter said on behalf of Tan.

[Translation: It's unfair to him because he just wants to let the local government know about this thing, this matter. And then all of the blame is on him. If he only knew, he shouldn't have spoken up to help. Now he's involved in the case.]

Gordon also warned other local consignees, Customs brokers, and fixers who helped in facilitating the shipment—saying he could also cite them for contempt.

Authorities are looking into filing charges against Tan and Li.

On May 26, authorities seized the shabu from two different warehouses in Paso de Blas and Barangay Ugong in Valenzuela City.

The operation followed a call from Tan to the Bureau of Customs on May 25.

Read more: PDEA: ₱6B illegal drugs inadmissible as evidence because of 'contamination'

CNN Philippines' Correspondent David Santos contributed to this report.