Government prosecutors yesterday found probable cause to charge Cebu businessman Peter Lim, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, and several other individuals for conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading.
In a press statement, the Department of Justice disclosed that Lim, Espinosa, Marcelo L. Adorco, Ruel Malindangan, et al. will be indicted for violation of Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5, Article Il of Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) before the Makati City Regional Trial Court.
The DoJ pointed out that the admission of Espinosa during the legislative investigation of the Senate committees on justice and public order, together with Marcelo Adorco’s positive identification of Lim as one of Kerwin’s suppliers of dangerous drugs, is sufficient to establish probable cause to charge them with conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading.
“The panel (of prosecutors) reiterates that conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading is a distinct offense under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and that the agreement to trade in drugs is the gravamen of the offense,” the DoJ said.
“The drugs themselves as corpus delicti of drug trading are not essential under Section 26(b) of the law,” it continued.
Also, the DoJ said that the defense of respondent Lim that he is not one alias “Jaguar” was immaterial, as he was positively identified by both Espinosa and Adorco.
Furthermore, it added that Lim’s alibi that he could not have possibly been in Thailand during the time attested by Adorco has to yield to the positive and affirmative statements of said witness.
In its hearing on July 19, 2018, the DoJ panel likewise found probable cause to charge respondents Espinosa, Wu Tuan Yan a.k.a. Peter Co, Adorco, Lovely A. Impal Malindangan with violation of Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5, Article Il of Republic Act No. 9165, after a separate investigation.
Meanwhile, there is no evidence that would implicate Kerwin Espinosa to the pieces of evidence taken from the kitchen during the raid on the house of his father, the late Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, on August 10, 2016.
This was stated by Chief Insp. Daryl Chua, who testified at the resumption of the hearing yesterday at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 26 in connection with the case of illegal drugs filed against Kerwin by the PNP-CIDG. Among those taken were firearms and shabu worth about P88 million.
It was Chua who applied for the search warrant used during the said raid and who gave the details in court on what happened.
In the said hearing, Kerwin’s lawyer asked Chua: ‘..is it correct to say that during the search of the kitchen of the house of Mayor Espinosa, you did not find anything that would implicate Kerwin Espinosa to the items that were found?’ to which Chua replied, ‘Yes, sir.’
City Prosecutor Christian Bachiller, meantime, said that in the next hearings, they will present more witnesses that would implicate Kerwin, as he expressed belief that there is the element of conspiracy in the case.
Espinosa reportedly said that he will divulge all he knows about the drug network in Visayas. In exchange, Espinosa was placed under the Department of Justice (DoJ) Witness Protection Program (WPP) and the protective custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) instead of the regular jail.
With Itchie G. Cabayan