The alleged middleman in the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China appeared for his arraignment before a Manila Regional Trial yesterday afternoon.
Businessman Kenneth Dong was heavily guarded by elements of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology when he arrived at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 past 1 p.m. He pleaded not guilty to the drug smuggling case committed in 2017.
Thereafter, Presiding Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa scheduled the pre-trial for Dong’s case today at 1:30 p.m.
Early this month, Dong was arrested by the agents of the National Bureau of Investigation-Anti-Organized Transnational Crime Division in Katarungan Village, Muntinlupa City after several months of hiding.
With his presence, Raymond Fortun, legal counsel of co-accused Mark Taguba, said that there will be an “invariable delay” in the trial proceedings since the court will give Dong’s camp the opportunity to cross-examine first the pieces of evidence previously presented by the prosecution.
This will also be the case once other at-large suspects surface.
In the meantime, Fortun said that they are awaiting the court’s decision on the petitions for bail filed by Customs fixer Mark Taguba and EMT owner Eirene Tatad. “It’s already submitted for resolution. We are just waiting for the Court’s resolution,” he said. (Ria Fernandez)