HONG KONG >> A Filipino congressman pleaded guilty Monday to trafficking drugs into Hong Kong last year after a post-concert cocaine binge in Manila was followed by a spur-of-the-moment decision to head to the gambling enclave of Macau.
Philippine Rep. Ronald Singson was not immediately sentenced in Hong Kong’s District Court pending testimony on whether he planned on consuming the cocaine or sharing it with others — a factor that could influence the length of his sentence.
He was caught carrying 0.24 ounces of cocaine at the southern Chinese city’s international airport in July. Drug trafficking carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of $640,000.
In his own testimony, Singson pleaded for leniency, apologizing to the judge and the people of Hong Kong. The 42-year-old legislator said he used cocaine on and off since 2004.
He said he went on a cocaine-and-gambling binge after attending an Usher concert in Manila he helped stage on July 9, frustrated by an argument with his girlfriend. He then decided to join a friend attending a poker tournament in Macau and was arrested while transiting through Hong Kong.
Singson, who is on bail, added he was undergoing rehabilitation for his drug addiction.
Singson is the son of Luis “Chavit” Singson, a provincial governor in the Philippines whose testimony in the corruption trial of his former friend, ex-President Joseph Estrada, helped convict the ousted leader in 2007 and secure a life prison term. Estrada was later pardoned.