Taiwanese gets two life terms for illegal drug possession

July 30, 2010 12:05 pm 

MANILA, July 29 –A Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) meted out two life imprisonment on a Taiwanese national on Thursday after he was found guilty of possessing over three kilos of ketamine and 108 grams of shabu during a raid in his condominium in Sta. Cruz, Manila in 2006.

Judge Alejandro Bijasa, of the Manila RTC imposed the life sentence on Hsieh Chang, with aliases “Chen Tieng Chang,” “Joseph Sia,” and “Tanda.”

Bijasa judge found the Taiwanese guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of violation of RA 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Apart from the prison terms, the judge also directed Hsieh Chang to pay a fine of P1-million.

A single life term carries with maximum of 40 years imprisonment.

Since Hsieh is considered an undesirable alien for violating immigration rules, the court also ordered that he be deported to his own country without further proceeding after service of the sentence.

In a 17-page decision, the judge junked the defense raised by Hsieh, who claimed that he was not criminally liable for violation of RA 9165 since the illegal drugs were not recovered from his possession when government enforcers raided his condominium.

Operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) – Special Enforcement Service raided his unit 805 at China Plaza Condominium on Tambacan Street in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

However, the court held that under the law, possession included not only actual possession, but also constructive possession.

The judge said actual possession existed when the drug was in the immediate possession or control of the accused.

The Manila RTC gave strength on the evidence presented by prosecution, which convinced the court that Hsieh was the lessor of the condominium unit since Dec. 6, 2006 and was interrupted only on March 13, 2007 when he was arrested by PDEA authorities.

However, Hsieh’s co-accused, brothers Eusebio and Cezar Valenzuela, were acquitted due to the prosecution’s failure to prove their guilt.

The representative samples of the drug specimens were also ordered forfeited by the court in favor of the government.

Court records showed that Hsieh was arrested on March 13, 2007 by PDEA operatives based on a tip of an informant, who claimed the condominium unit was being utilized as a repository of illegal drugs.

Equipped with a search warrant against Hsieh and others, PDEA agents raided the condominium on March 13, 2007.

Hsieh, who was present during the search, yielded three bags of ketamine hydrochloride, a component in making shabu, weighing 3.161 kgs and 108.77 grams of shabu, in plain view of the PDEA operatives at the kitchen top.

PDEA agents also found several drug paraphernalia such as strips of aluminum foil with traces of suspected shabu from the comfort room of the master bedroom. (PNA) RMA/JES

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