News Briefs: March 10, 2017

Graft court junks charges against ex-Cebu congressmen Cuenco, Yapha 

MANILA – The Sandiganbayan denied the appeal of government prosecutors to reopen graft cases against former Cebu representatives Antonio Cuenco and Antonio Yapha Jr due to a delay of over 10 years.

The anti-graft court said the delay violated the defendants' rights to a speedy disposition of the cases against them.

Cuenco and Yapha were accused of misusing their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations in 2004 by endorsing an ineligible and unqualified non-governmental organization to implement a fertilizer project.

The court dismissed the case due to the length of time it took to begin a trial. The court counted 10 years and 6 months of delay – from the time the fact-finding investigation started in February 2006 to the filing of the information before the court on August 24, 2016.

For similar reasons, a case against Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit 7 executive director Eduardo Lecciones Jr was ordered dismissed. – 



Customs delists importer of 300 drums of drug chemicals 

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Juchem Enterprises, the consignee of more than 300 drums of undocumented hydrochloric acid from India that were discovered at the Mindanao Container Terminal sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, will be removed from the list of accredited importers of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Neil Anthony Estrella, BOC acting spokesperson and national chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), said on Wednesday, March 8, the Butuan City-based company failed to present import permits fro the chemicals, which can be used to manufacture illegal drugs.

The importer will also face charges for violations of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation 3, series of 2003, pursuant to Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act).


Estrella said the CIIS had delisted more than 100 importers and brokers operating in several major ports in the country due to various violations. – Bobby Lagsa