Privilege Speech
August 27, 2013


Please check against delivery

Mr. President


1. Allow me to mention a few names, and tell you what these names signify.

  • Ayala Alabang Boys

  • Jackson Dy

  • Walid Ansao, Aldin Colinares, Arn Naul, Deo Bermejo

Most of you would recognize these names and gang titles. They were all suspected to be big-time drug dealers/drug lords. They were caught, arrested, investigated, and some were brought to trial. Sadly, after so much hue and cry, and the attendant publicity, they were all released.

2. It pains me every time I read news that another drug lord has been released by the Department of Justice or the Judiciary.

3. Now, here's the latest Mr. President. The case of Mark Sy Tan.

4. Let me tell you, as briefly as I can, a summary of his case.


December 2, 2011

  • A confidential informant (CI) -- reported the illegal activities of a certain "Chang" involving the large-scale distribution of methamphetamine hyrdrochloride (or shabu) in the National Capital Region. To help authorities verify the information, the CI introduced PDEA agent Jonathan Morales to a certain Changxin Wang. Morales was identified as a buyer and distributor of shabu. Thereafter, Morales conducted two test buys with "Chang" in January 2012.

January 20, 2012

  • In the second test-buy, Morales was instructed by Chang to deposit the amount of Php 60,000.00 to BDO account number 120162032 under the account name of Mark Sy Tan. The day after the deposit was made, a package containing what appeared to be shabu, a white crystalline substance, weighing 15.0401 grams was delivered by a courier near the Department of Foreign Affairs offices along Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.

February 2, 2012

  • As he was then certain that Changxi Wang, was engaged in the trading of shabu, Morales organized a buy-bust entrapment against him. This time the transaction would involve the sale of one (1) kilogram of shabu at the price of Php 3,600,000. Morales was asked to deposit 10% of the total amount or Php 360,000 as down payment in BDO account number 120162032 under the name of Mark Sy Tan.

  • Wang agreed to meet Morales in front of Hollywood Bar, along Timog Avenue in Quezon City. So, on February 2, 2012 at about 12:30 a.m. a Chinese-looking male carrying a red and black shoulder bag approached the vehicle of Morales and knocked on the window. When asked if he was Chang, the man said he was Tony Go and that Wang had already left. Tony Go then handed a package wrapped in a red Christmas gift wrapper to Morales. When it was opened, it contained a light blue plastic bag containing a white crystalline substance. Tony Go demanded payment, whereupon Morales gave the paper bag containing the "boodle" money.

  • Right after the prearranged signal was made to indicate the completion of the transaction. Tony Go was arrested by the PDEA operatives and was subjected to body search. Inside the bag he had brought were two packages, containing white crystalline substance, a driver's license and several pieces of BDO deposit slips and transaction tickets.

  • One of the BDO deposit slips was under the name of Mark Sy Tan, with account number 120162032 in the amount of Php 300,000.00.

February 3, 2012

  • The case was referred to the Department of Justice-National Prosecution Service (DOJ-NPS) for inquest. The inquest Prosecutors assigned were Assistant State Prosecutor JUAN PEDRO C. NAVERA and Associate Prosecution Attorney II ANNA NOREEN T. DEVANADERA.

  • PDEA, represented by Agent JONATHAN A. MORALES, Investigation Agent 3, and Agent GREGORIO CAMUA III, Intelligence Officer 1, charged the following persons for violations of Section 11 (Possession) and Section 5 (Sale of Dangerous Drugs) in relation to Section 26 (Conspiracy), all under Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 or "The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002":

1. GO HONG BING @CLARENCE CHEN GO- as the person who delivered the 1 kilogram of shabu during the buy-bust operation. Two other packages with approximately one-half kilogram of shabu each were likewise seized from him during the buy-bust;

2. CHANGXIN WANG CHANG) - the person whom the CI and the agents dealt with. He was the one giving instructions as to where to deposit the agreed amount for the deliveries of shabu. The bank account used in the first test-buy is under his name;

3. MARK S. TAN - his bank account was used twice in the drug transactions with the CI and the agents: during the second test-buy and the down payment for the buy-bust sale. He was also present in the second test-buy; and,

4. MATTEW L. TAN - he was present during the second test-buy. Further, an account number under his name appear numerous times in the Cash Deposit Slips recovered from GO during the buy-bust.

February 6, 212

  • The Inquest Prosecutors, ASP NAVERA and APAII DEVANADERA, issued Inquest Resolution approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor MIGUEL F. GUDIO, JR., dated February 2012 finding:

    • probable cause against GO for Sec. 11 and Sec. 5 in relation to Sec. 26, both of R.A. 9165, with recommendation of the filing of the corresponding Information in court.

    • As for CHANG, MARK and MATTEW, the charges for Sec. 5 in relation to Sec. 26 and Sec 11 were recommended for preliminary investigation.

February 9, 2012

  • Separate Information, both dated February 6, 2012, were filed against GO and several John Does for Sec. 11 of RA 9165.

April 22, 2012

  • DOJ-NPS issued another Resolution dated April 17, 2012 duly approved by Prosecution General CLARO A. ARELLANO, recommending the filing of the case for Sec. 5 in relation to Sec. 26 against GO, CHANG, MARK and MATTEW.

  • A copy of the resolution reads as follows:

** "As for Respondents Mark S. Tan and Mattew L. Tan, their identities surfaced when complainants Morales and Camua were instructed by respondent Wang to deposit the down payment in the respective Banco De Oro accounts of Mark S. Tan and Mattew L. Tan. Their identities were ascertained after they deposited the down payment to the said bank accounts. This paved the way for the deliveries of the drugs, in the two test buys and, finally, in the buy-bust operation. The items in all instances were tested and yielded positive results for methamphetamine hydrochloride. Clearly, all the elements for the sale of dangerous drugs were established in the case.

** The acts of respondents also show that they were united in their intent to commit a criminal offense.

** Secondly, the opening of bank accounts in the name of respondents Mark S. Tan and Mattew L. Tan as the conduit to ensure receipt of payment. Lastly, the confirmation of the deposit of payment prompted the delivery of the drugs. Thus, these acts when taken together only strengthen the fact that respondents Wang, Mark S. Tan and Mattew L. Tan were acting in conspiracy with one another.

May 22, 2012

  • DOJ-NPS filed before RTC Branch 103 an Amended Information dated May 8, 2012 identifying the John Does in the original Information dated February 6, 2012 as CHANG, MARK and MATTEW and including them as Accused in the Criminal Case

  • Warrant of Arrest dated May 22, 2012 was immediately issued by the court.

July 18, 2012

  • MARK was arrested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Pasay City by virtue of the Warrant of Arrest issued. CHANG and MATTEW remain at-large.

July 19, 2012

  • Commitment Order was issued by the RTC Branch 103.

  • MARK was immediately committed to Quezon City Jail on the same date.

  • MARK moved for the reinvestigation of his case. The same was granted by the court.

Here comes the twist:

August 5, 2013

  • Agents MORALES and CAMUA received a copy of a Resolution dated July 26, 2013 affirming the dismissal of the charge against MARK S. TAN, the one committed to jail while the other suspects, CHANGXIN WANG CHANG and MATTEW L. TAN, remained at large, for Sec. 5 in relation to Sec. 26.

  • A copy of the resolution reads as follows:

** "In dismissing the charge against respondent Mark, the review resolution subject of this automatic review takes into account the lack of proof that the PDEA agents actually transacted with the respondent, and that the latter knew about the drug transaction and agreed that his account be used for the illegal transactions. Likewise, the subject resolution finds no strong evidence of conspiracy that would implicate respondent Mark in the alleged illegal drug activities. Accordingly, the presentation by complaint of the deposit slips in the name of respondent Mark, unsupported by any other evidence, is insufficient to prove respondent's participation in the crime charged.

** The presence of this tinted black Montero during the buy-bust operation was a singularly substantial, peculiar and unforgettable detail that could not have been missed in the first Joint-Affidavit of the complainants, especially so that it connects Mark Tan to the incident. But complainants would curiously be able to mention and describe such a vehicle only after Mark tan was arrested in his tinted black Montero at the NAIA on July 18, 2012.

** There can be no justifiable explanation to complainants' total non-mention in their Joint Affidavit of these new details- indeed new revelations-contained in their reply-affidavit. On the contrary, however, there is every explanation for these new revelations- to directly link Mark Tan to this alleged conspiracy, where earlier there was no such direct connection to the other respondents if we go by only the Joint-affidavit of complainants.

** Chang was described as one who transacts with customers who deposit beforehand to certain BDO account numbers before delivering his goods. But why, if complainant Morales is to believed, did Chang allegedly agree to meet up with him to personally receive the cash amount of P3,240,000.00 for the simultaneous delivery by Chang of 1 kilo of shabu. Given their contradictory accounts, where did complainants first come across the names of "Mark Tan", Changxin and Mattew L. Tan"? Curiously all these names allegedly appeared in the BDO cash deposit slips recovered from Tony Go aka Clarence Chen Go.

** Indeed the record is bereft of sufficient evidence for a finding of probable cause, but is replete with factual allegations that cannot be believed. Perhaps, are even perjured.

August 8, 2013

  • On initial reading of the Resolution, it appears that the same was issued as a resolution on automatic review.

  • In the afternoon of same date, Agents MORALES and CAMUA proceeded to DOJ-NPS to secure a copy of the Review Resolution dated April 3, 2013 subject of the automatic review

  • Copy of the resolution reads as follows:

** An assiduous scrutiny of the record at hand reveals that there is no probable cause to indict respondent mark of the crime charged. There are several inconsistencies between the complainant affidavits' and the reply affidavits of the PDEA agents in establishing the participation of respondent Mark Tan.

** Suddenly in the PDEA agent's reply affidavit, the fact that there were several individuals present including respondent Mark, suddenly emerged. They were even able to identify the appearance of each individual with precision. There is no reason as to why the PDEA did not allege these facts earlier since these are material evidence to properly identify respondent Mark as a co-conspirator in the crime alleged. It seems that what were stated in the reply affidavit are mere afterthoughts in order to fit the facts to the identity of the person of respondent Mark.

** Surprisingly, the fact that respondent Mark's vehicle was at the scene of the crime was again never mentioned in the complaint-affidavit of the PDEA agents. It is only on their reply affidavit where they belatedly claimed that the tinted black Montero of respondent with plate no. POQ 868 made an appearance. The said facts should be readily apparent and could have not have been omitted in their complaint-affidavit. However, in their reply affidavit, they are using these pieces of facts to establish the participation of respondent Mark.

** A bank transaction entails a paper trail which could lead to the actual owner of the account and as well as his identity. If indeed the deposits were made as payment for drugs, respondent Mark would not flaunt his name as the receiver of the amount. It is highly contrary to human nature and experience that a person would let himself open to possible prosecution. Especially in the instant case, as it involves serious and highly penalized offense.

** At this point it seems that respondent Mark is also a victim of the persons who are really liable for the sale of drugs. This is due to the fact that his business was used in consummating the sale of drugs.

5. Now, let us consider the official report of the PDEA :

  • During investigation, suspect Go categorically pointed to Changxin Wang, Mark S. Tan and Mattew L. Tan as the main financiers and owners of the imported illegal drugs from China. It was also revealed during investigation that the reason why their bank accounts accumulated such huge amounts was that nationwide drug sales were being funneled into their bank account.

  • The case was also referred to the Anti-Money Laundering Commission or AMLC in support of the PDEA's financial investigation of the case. As a result the suspects' bank accounts were ordered frozen by the Court of Appeals. The accounts amounted to more than One Hundred Million pesos of drug money, excluding hundreds of billions of pesos already withdrawn from the subject accounts based on the records of the AMLC.

  • It should also be mentioned that this service uncovered the group's modus operandi of utilizing mostly Chinese big-time casino patrons for money laundering and underground casino financing services. It was also learned during the conduct of surveillance that the group was regularly bringing in millions of pesos daily as standby funds for their underground casino financing activities and that they have the capability to give millions of pesos to any government official to insure that the group's nefarious activities remained unhampered.

6. But despite all the efforts of the government, lo and behold, we still end up losing these suspected drug lords.

7. Sadly, all the efforts of the government are just put into waste. "Sayang 'yung dedication ng mga PDEA agents" who spend time and energy to investigate. For this case alone, PDEA agents have been investigating the group of Mark Tan since November of 2010 and conducted several test-buys and buy-bust operations. They have put their lives at great risk; government spent sizeable amounts of money during such operations, as in this case where the government spent Php 700,000.

8. "Sayang, kasi napapakawalan lang. There must be something wrong with the system, the policy and the execution on the part of the PDEA, DOJ, JUDICIARY, even LEGISLATIVE offices.

9. "Nasaan po ba ang problema? Kailangan nating magtulungan para sa talamak na problema ng droga. Kailangan magkapit-bisig ang mga taga- PDEA, DOJ, mga legislators, judiciary para sa iisang hangarin.. to eradicate illegal drugs in this country."

10. Example: In the case of Mark Sy Tan: proof beyond reasonable doubt vs probable cause. Kung tutuusin, probable cause lang ang kailangan para masampahan ng kaso si Mr. Tan, pero sa resolution ng DOJ mukhang naging trial court na rin sila. DOJ should have let the court (drug courts) appreciate and weigh the evidence; determine the relevance and the authenticity of the evidence presented.

11. DOJ should have been more cautious, reasonable, taking into account the whole process, considering the peculiarity of the case.

As in the case of conspiracy, kasi sa resolution ng DOJ sinabi nila mahirap i-establish ang participation ni Mark Tan through conspiracy. We have to take into consideration that the legislators included the crime of conspiracy in RA 9165 exactly to capture the so-called "big fish" in the drug industry. Hindi naman hahawak ang mga "big fish" na ito ng droga at pera. Dadating na lang sa kanila ang pera. Kailangan nating i-consider din ang pag-appreciate sa mga evidence na pini-present ng mga enforcers. Dahil matagal nilang trinabaho ito. Mahabang proseso ito.

12. Pero hindi ko rin naman isinasantabi ang posibilidad na baka naman kailangan pa rin talaga ng mga PDEA agents ng mas masusing pag-iimbestiga, pag-aaral ng proseso, pangangalap ng matibay na mga ebidensya, at wastong paghuli sa mga malalaking isda. Mahalaga ring isaalang-alang ang mga ito upang sa ganoon ang kanilang pagsisikap ay hindi naman masayang lamang. Maaaring kailangan pa rin ng mga PDEA agents ng wastong kaalaman at kasanayan sa pagpapa-igting ng kaso laban sa mga drug lords.

13. Nakakalungkot lamang, dahil sa halip na ang mga malalaking isda ang nahuhuli at iniimbestigahan, mismong mga PDEA agents pa na kumilos at naghirap sa kaso ang kinasuhan ng DOJ.

14. Akalain ba naman po ninyo. Noong August 5, 2013, naglabas ng resolusyon ang DOJ na nagrerekomenda na sampahan ng kasong robbery with violation and intimidation o extortion sa korte ang ilan sa mga PDEA agents na nagsampa ng kaso kay Mr. Mark Tan.

15. According to the resolution of the DOJ, the crime of robbery has been proved to have been committed and it could not have been committed without the existence of conspiracy among the PDEA agents. The resolution narrated how the alleged extortion took place. It said that upon the arrest of Mr. Mark Sy Tan at the NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City by the PDEA agents, in order to extort from him, PDEA agents have told him that his case was serious and that media people were waiting for him at their office for a press conference. At the PDEA, Tan was dragged inside the office of IIS. Respondent Romero then told Mark Sy Tan that he was in deep trouble and initially demanded P50.0 million for his release in the presence of respondents Morales, Mendoza and other operatives. Respondent Lachica was also informed of the demand. After haggling, the amount was reduced to P8.0 million. Fearful for his life and the welfare of his family, Mark Sy Tan requested his relatives to produce the amount. It was respondent Romero who gave complainant Mark Sy Tan the bank account of respondent Berna Catacutan with the Banco De Oro, for the deposit of the P8.0 million. On the same day, Joseph Tan, brother of the complainant Tan deposited said amount at the BDO Resorts World branch Pasay City. Respondent Catacutan gave the money to respondent De Isidro's boyfriend, respondent Daez a.k.a Sadam, a former IIS operative, who is assigned at the PDEA Regional Office 3, San Fernando Pampanga. Respondent Catacutan likewise withdrew money for respondent De Isidro who transferred amount in the accounts of Catacutan's former boyfriend, respondent Garcia and a certain Jonathan Gangcuangco. Despite payment, the PDEA operatives did not release complainant Mark Sy Tan.

16. Pero hindi naman po natin hahayaan na may mga madamay na mga inosenteng sibilyan dahil lamang sa iilan na gustong mangikil at umabuso sa kanilang tungkulin. Hindi ko sila kukunsintihin.

17. Ngunit hindi natin pwedeng isawalang bahala ang lakas at puwersa ng mga drug-lords na ito. Sa dami ng kanilang pera at koneksyon, maari nilang mabaligtad ang kwento at mapa-abswelto ang kanilang kaso kung hindi ang DOJ, PDEA at Judiciary magiging maingat, mapangmatyag at maging mabusisi sa paghawak ng kanilang mga kaso.

18. Dapat siguro nating tingnan ang kabuuan ng isyung ito, Mukhang kailangan nating tingnan ang sistema at tingnan ang mga kinakailangan pang ayusin.

19. Sa mga taga DOJ, ano po ba ang pu-puwede pa nating gawin upang hindi naman mawalan ng saysay ang hirap ng mga taga-PDEA?

20. Dapat tayong magtulungan upang masolusyunan natin ang lumalalang problema sa droga. Hindi biro ang dami ng ating kapwa-mamamayang Pilipino -na nagiging biktima nito, karamihan ay kabataan, at ilan daan libong pamilya ang nawawasak, karamiha'y mahihirap ngunit mayroon ding galing sa mayayamang angkan.

21. Mr. President. The drug situation in the country is very serious and urgent. It is certainly a clear and present danger and we are called upon to act in unity with several government bodies and law-enforcement offices. Hindi po natin matatawaran ang pinsala ng droga sa ating lipunan, at hindi po natin masusukat ang kapariwaraang dulot nito lalo na sa ating mga kabataan.

22. Hindi naman po ako naandito ngayon para lamang maglatag ng problema at wala ako dala-dalang maaring magandang solusyon. Mahirap naman po yata na sita ng sita, expose ng expose. Mr. President, mayroon po akong ihahain na solusyon.

23. The war against drugs can only be won by a holistic approach namely:

1. Preventive Education
2. Rehabilitation
3. Effective Enforcement
4. Successful Prosecution
5. Alternative Development

My proposed solution to this quandary is the merging of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) into a Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority, wherein the 5 major branches will be created. Nasa ilalim nya lahat ng aking nabanggit. Hindi katulad ngayon... cite the different agencies/departments (adlib)

24. Kailangan na po nating kumilos Kailangan nating magbigay halimbawa na ating tutugisin at parurusahan ang malalaking isda at gayundin ang lahat ng kasangkot sa paggawa, pag-aangkat, at pangangalakal sa droga. Hindi po bukas, hindi sa makalawa, kundi ngayon na.

25. Maraming maraming salamat po.

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