DOJ junks drug raps vs. Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa

DOJ junks drug raps vs. Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa

Faced with a barrage of criticisms, Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday to investigate for possible irregularities the government prosecutors behind the dismissal of the drug case lodged against Cebu businessman Peter Lim, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and several others.

Beside from Lim, Espinosa and Co, cleared of violation of Section 26 (b) of Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2000, were Marcelo Adorco, Max Miro, Lovely Adam Impal, Ruel Mangalindan and Jaime Jun Pepito, a village councilor in Albuera, Leyte and individuals identified only by their aliases namely Jeremy aka "Amang, Ricky, Warren, Tupie, Jojo, Yawa, Lapi, Royroy, Marlon, Bay, John Doe (alleged delivery man of Co), Peter Doe (alleged delivery man of Lim) and Robert Doe (also an alleged delivery man of Lim)".

In the complaint, the CIDG-MCIU charged the respondents with trading and distribution of risky drugs, which is punishable by life imprisonment under Section 5 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive unsafe Drugs Act.

The resolution approved by acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr., was reportedly issued on December 20, 2017 but was only revealed to media on Monday.

Moreover, they considered Adorco's testimony solid by itself, as he was part of the group of drug suspects and had given categorical information.

The DOJ held that Adorco's affidavits are "unworthy of consideration" due to inconsistencies and contradictions.

Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim meets with President Rodrigo Duterte in July 2016. Supposedly members of the Chinese triad, Co was operating in Metro Manila and Luzon, while Lim in the Visayas.

The PNP has already has already filed a motion for reconsideration (MR) before the DOJ to appeal for the reversal of the dismissed complaint.

Progressive lawmakers on Tuesday branded President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war as "death for the poor, and salvation for the rich" following the acquittal of the Department of Justice (DOJ) against suspected drug lords.

"Procedurally, my office has no hand nor say on the resolution of this case", Aguirre said.

Senators have criticized the Justice Department for its prosecutors' decision, noting that Espinosa himself had admitted involvement in the drug trade.

This, despite Espinosa's statement in a Senate hearing that he was earning up to P50 million yearly in the illegal drug trade in the Visayas.

Only some of the respondents in the case are in government custody.

Besides Lim, Kerwin Espinosa, who was arrested by Abu Dhabi police in October 2016, was among the 22 people cleared.

Impal, whom the police calls a "drug queen", surrendered to authorities in December 2016.