JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Thursday, January 11, warned that Richard Chen, owner of Hongfei Logistics warehouse in Valenzuela City who was purportedly behind the illegal shipment of P6.4-billion methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, might still be trying to flee the country.
Speaking to Palace reporters, Aguirre said they have no information on Chen's whereabouts.
He admitted that the Chen, also known as Richard Tan, might be trying to get out of the country.
However, he said there is no record at the Bureau of Immigration that Chen was able to leave the country.
"After the case has been filed, we don't know if he could leave the country through some other means, for example, by using some fake documents. We don't know," Aguirre said.
"But there's no information from the Bureau of Immigration that he left the country already so the presumption is still, he's here," he added.
Aguirre said he received information from the BI that Chen had tried to travel abroad twice but was "timely prevented" because of the issuance of the bureau's look-out bulletin order against the latter.
Chen was among the respondents facing criminal charges in connection with the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China that slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
On May 26, agents of the BOC and National Bureau of Investigation discovered over six kilos of shabu when they raided Chen's warehouse in Valenzuela City.
Aguirre said he was told that a person "connected with the BI" had tried to help Chen leave the country by bribing an Immigration supervisor.
He said Chen's attempt to go overseas was foiled after the Immigration supervisor rejected the bribe.
"We received information, in fact, reliable information that one of these (respondents, Chen, is) trying to get out of the country. But he was timely prevented by the issuance of ILBO or Immigration's look-out bulletin order," he said.
"He was not successful because our (Immigration supervisor) officers rejected the bribe being offered," the Justice Secretary added. (SunStar Philippines)