Monday, June 4, 2012

3 Chinese fugitives get life for drugs

MANILA, Philippines - Three Chinese detainees who escaped from the Parañaque City Jail on Dec. 10, 2011 were tried in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment last week for possessing more than P2 billion worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. City regional trial court Judge Danilo Suarez issued warrants for authorities to arrest Zong Long (Sonny Long), Cheung Wai Leung and Chan Tong Lou and detain them at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. The court might also send a copy of the decision to the Chinese embassy. A court employee told The STAR that the warrant would help authorities recapture the fugitives if they are still in the country. Suarez issued a hold departure order on Dec. 13, 2011 to prevent the Chinese from leaving the Philippines. A copy of the HDO was given to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration. The three men were arrested in a sting operation in Better Living Subdivision in February 2011. Zong and Cheung were also separately charged for selling P20 million worth of shabu to undercover cops of the National Capital Region Police Office. The three pleaded not guilty a month after their arrest. While the trial was pending, they escaped from prison last December with the alleged help of their guard, Jail Officer 1 Richard Sillatoc. Sillatoc, who was criminally charged before the Parañaque prosecutor’s office, no longer reported for work after the escape and remains at large. He was caught on surveillance video helping them escape. Sillatoc’s fellow jail guards claimed he fed them bulalo (beef bone marrow soup) and rice that made them vomit. The three inmates were detained at the Parañaque jail’s fourth floor and Sillatoc allegedly helped them bypass guards assigned at each floor until they reached the guards’ barracks, where they changed clothes, and escaped through the jail’s main gate. A few days after the jailbreak, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology – then headed by Rosendo Dial – offered P50,000 for the recapture of each of the fugitives. - By Aie Balagtas See