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Customs fixer in P6-b shabu case wants to turn witness

CUSTOMS fixer Mark Ruben Taguba II said Thursday he will consult his lawyer about turning state witness in the case involving the P6.4-billion shabu shipment that slipped past port inspections in May last year.

“My lawyer and I will discuss this. I’ll consult him,” Taguba said at the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila, where he was presented in a press conference following his arrest on Wednesday night.

An accused can only turn state witness once he has satisfied the requirements under the law, such as the absolute necessity for the accused’s testimony, lack of direct evidence for the proper prosecution of the case, and the accused should not appear to be the most guilty in the case.

TAGUBA TAKEN. Customs fixer Mark Taguba (center) is presented by the National Bureau of Investigation-Anti Organized and Transnational Crime Division on Thursday, a day after he was arrested. He is implicated in a shipment of 600 kilos of shabu worth P6.4 billion from China last year. Norman Cruz
Taguba made his statement even as a Customs official on Thursday cried foul after he was named one of several people using the name of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña to extort money to facilitate the release of shipments from the bureau.

 Customs officer Richard Rebong denied the allegations he was using Lapeña’s name as he had been on a “floating status” since 2013.

Rebong’s name was mentioned in an online article together with one Ronald Sanchez, lawyer Jimmy Patricio, one “Col. Mapalo,” Teofilo  Bacud and one “Col. Divina,” who were allegedly had been dropping Lapeña’s name to hasten the release of imported shipments in exchange for an amount of money.

Taguba said he had no regrets about revealing what he knew about the P6.4-billion shabu shipment and the corruption at the Bureau of Customs, even as he declined to comment on who should be charged for the shabu shipment.

The 26-year-old also expressed confidence he would win the drug importation case, saying they had prepared a “good defense” to the case filed by the Justice department against him and eight others before the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46.

Taguba earlier said he had no knowledge on the contents of the shipment.

He also said only the importer and the consignee could be held liable for illegal importation.

Topics: P6-b shabu case , Customs fixer , Mark Ruben Taguba II

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