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DFA: Chavit's son declined help offer in drug case

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday broke its silence on the case of Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson, who was arrested in Hong Kong earlier this month for alleged drug trafficking, by ensuring that the lawmaker’s rights will be respected. The DFA said officials of the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong visited Singson, son of Ilocos Sur governor Luis “Chavit" Singson, in jail to offer assistance, but the lawmaker declined the offer. "Mr. Singson declined the Consulate’s offer to assist him at this time," the DFA said on its website Monday evening. It said that for now, Singson has retained the services of a private counsel, who is representing him in court proceedings. DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos said that like any other Filipino who is facing charges in court abroad, the DFA will also ensure that Singson’s rights under local laws are respected. “We will treat Mr. Singson’s case as in any other drug-related case involving Filipino nationals in another country. But we will make sure that he has his days in court to defend himself and his right to privacy is respected," Conejos said. Singson was arrested last July 11 at the Hong Kong International Airport for allegedly carrying 26.1 grams of cocaine and two tablets of prescription medication Valium, a depressant used mainly for treating anxiety. He was then charged with trafficking in dangerous drugs pursuant to the Hong Kong’s Dangerous Drug Ordinance at the Tsuen Wan Magistracy's Courts. The DFA said Singson appeared in court with his private counsel last July 22. It said the hearing of the case was adjourned to August 19 pending receipt of certification from Hong Kong government authorities on findings on the drugs allegedly found in his possession. - KBK, GMANews.TV