PDEA-7 still waiting for pre trial of civil forfeiture case of Sabalones’ frozen assets
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7) says that up to now, it is still waiting for the pre-trial of the civil forfeiture case on the assets alleged drug lord Franz Sabalones.
Thessa Albaño Tiuzen, Assistant Regional Director of PDEA-7, talked to reporters in a press conference on Wednesday morning, March 4, 2020, about the updates regarding the freeze order issued against Sabalones in 2017.
“For this the civil forfeiture case, we are still waiting for the pre-trial nga hapit na daw,” said Tiuzen.
According to Tiuzen, the Regional Trial Court Branch 18 already released an Asset of Preservation order on the three bank accounts and eight real properties of Sabalones amounting to P350 million.
“So naay civil forfeiture case ang Anti-Money Laundering Council or AMLC, naa poy criminal case. So naay 98 counts for criminal case for money laundering. Naka file palang sa fiscal gi huwat lang nila ang resolution,” she added.
(So there’s a civil forfeiture case of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, and there’s a separate criminal case. So there are 98 counts for criminal case for money laundering. This is still filed with the fiscal and awaiting for the resolution.)
Tiuzen said the freeze order was necessary to ensure that all the properties and assets of Franz Sabalones cannot be used.
“Gina question mani kay it is from the assumption nga gikan ni sa illegal activities,” said Tiuzen.
(This is being questioned because it is from the assumption that this is from illegal activities.)
At present, PDEA-7 is still investigating the relatives of Sabalones who might also have properties from the alleged drug lord.
In August 2016, Sabalones decided to surrender before authorities last August 2016 when his brother, San Fernando Vice Mayor Fralz Sabalones was included in the government’s so-called narco-list or list of public officials allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade.
The Sabalones brothers went to Camp Crame on August 8, 2016: Franz to admit being a drug lord and Fralz to clear his name.
In a resolution dated on January 18, 2017, the Court of Appeals (CA) ordered to freeze bank accounts and properties belonging to Sabalones which includes P76 million money from his three bank accounts, six lots, a beach resort in San Fernando, six Sports Utility Vehicles and a 6.4 hectare poultry farm.
The freeze order was in relation to the investigation conducted by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to determine whether or not Sabalones’ assets were purchased through drug money.
On April 18, 2019, Maundy Thursday, Sabalones was shot dead by still unidentified assailants while he was about to enter into a billiard bar along Timog Avenue in Quezon City, Metro Manila. /bmjo
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