FORMER police officer Eduardo Acierto and six other individuals implicated in the alleged smuggling of shabu worth billions of pesos last year have been slapped with a hold departure order by the Manila regional trial court.
In an order, Manila RTC Branch 35 directed the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to prevent possible flight of Acierto and other respondents in a case of violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).
Apart from Acierto, included in the HDO were former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) deputy director for administration Ismael Fajardo; importers Chan Yee Wah alias KC Chan and Zhou Quan alias Zhang Quan; consignees Vedasto Cabral Baraquel Jr. and Maria Lagrimas Catipan of Vecaba Trading; and Emily Luquingan.
Former Customs intelligence officer Jimmy Guban, also a respondent, has been in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation since April 17.
As per records from the BI, Acierto and Fajardo are still in the country. Earlier, the Manila RTC issued a warrant of arrest against Acierto and others.
Judge Ma. Bernardita Santos has set no bail for the arrest of the accused as drug importation charges are non-bailable under the law.
Acierto recently surfaced in a press conference with select media outfits and linked President Duterte’s former adviser Michael Yan in the illegal drug trade.
The case stemmed from the successive seizures in August last year of two abandoned magnetic lifters at the Port of Manila which contained 355 kilos of shabu worth P2.4 billion and of four magnetic lifters at a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite believed to have been used to smuggle 1.6 tons of shabu worth P11 billion.