THE Philippine National Police yesterday described the decision by the Department of Justice to dismiss the drug conspiracy case filed against suspected drug lords Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa and 20 others as a “temporary setback” stressing that they have filed a motion for the DoJ to reconsider its verdict.
The DoJ decision in the case against Peter Lim et al was made amid the ongoing PNP’s massive crackdown on illegal drug trafficking and abuse with the end in view of scoring court convictions.
“It’s not yet final because the CIDG has filed a motion for reconsideration for the Secretary of the Department of Justice to conduct the review. Our legal teams and investigators are identifying additional witnesses and are collecting more pieces of evidence for the possible refiling of the case,” said PNP spokesman, Chief Superintendent John C. Bulalacao.
Just a ‘bump’
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II admitted that the dismissal of the drug charges against Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim, confessed drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co and several others is “slight bump” in the government’s war on drugs.
However, Aguirre assured the public that the dismissal would not affect the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“This dismissal is a slight bump on the war against drugs. It is likewise a wake-up call to all concerned that our efforts, from apprehension to resolution to conviction must be concerted and thorough. However, we remain committed to waging the war on drugs,” Aguirre said.
At the same time, Aguirre declined to further comment on the dismissal of the charges which has earned criticism from lawmakers and various sectors of society.
“As of the moment, my office will refrain from making unnecessary comment on this particular case since it will eventually be the subject of an automatic review which I will resolve,” he said.
“Procedurally, my office has no hand or say in the resolution of this case,” he added.
Malacanang insisted that the dismissal of the criminal complaint against confessed drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa and businessman Peter Lim will not affect the case of detained Senator Leila De Lima, who was implicated by Espinosa in the illegal drug trade.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said De Lima is not a respondent in the complaint involving Espinosa’s alleged drug transactions with Lim.
“So iba po ang basehan ng pagsampa ng kaso kay Leila De Lima, iba ang basehan sa pagsampa ng kaso dito kay Peter Lim,” he told reporters, adding there are other witnesses who would testify on the senator’s drug links.
Espinosa told a Department of Justice panel in January last year that he had met with De Lima in Baguio City sometime between November 19 to 22, 2015, where he and his common law wife had their photos taken with the former Justice secretary.
Currently under the DoJ’s Witness Protection Program, Espinosa said De Lima served as one of his protectors in government and that he gave money through her former bodyguard and lover Ronnie Dayan in several tranches from August 2015 to February 2016.
With Hector Lawas, EMontano