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 Congressman Singson defers plea

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Magic Man13
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PostSubject: Congressman Singson defers plea    Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:07 pm

HONG KONG—A Philippine lawmaker and music promoter accused of drug trafficking in Hong Kong told a court on Tuesday he could not enter a plea to the charges because he was undergoing medical treatment.

Rep. Ronald Singson of Ilocos Sur was charged after he was arrested by customs agents at Hong Kong’s international airport in July for allegedly carrying a vial of cocaine in his hand luggage.

His lawyer, John Reading, asked the district court to adjourn the case because Singson was “undertaking medical treatment” and unable to enter a plea until he receives his medical report.

Neither Reading nor Singson would reveal the medical condition after the court session.

Judge Kevin Browne adjourned the case to Oct. 19 and extended his bail.

Singson has paid HK$1 million (US$128,000) bail, and two friends paid another HK$1 million as surety. Singson was also ordered to surrender his passport and other travel documents.

Singson told reporters outside the court that he was under instructions not to comment on his medical condition, and kissed his baby daughter in front of a crowd of photographers.

The 41-year-old lawmaker has a Filipino film star girlfriend and juggles two jobs promoting US rhythm and blues acts in the Philippines while holding a congressional seat.

He won a second three-year term in the House of Representatives in May, in the seat long held by his family in the northern province of Ilocos Sur.

A ‘setup’

The legislator is one of seven children by an estranged wife of Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson, one of the most colorful and controversial political figures in the Philippines.

The 69-year-old patriarch was in Hong Kong last month to attend his son’s bail hearing, when he denied his son was a drug dealer. “It’s a setup,” he told reporters.

Also present then was the younger Singson’s girlfriend Lovi Poe, daughter of the late king of Philippine movies and unsuccessful presidential candidate, Fernando Poe Jr.

Congressman Singson is accused of trafficking 6.67 grams of cocaine. Authorities say that two tablets of diazepam, the generic form of Valium, were also found on him.

In Hong Kong, trafficking in a dangerous drug carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of HK$5 million ($644,000).

Philippine Daily Inquirer
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