By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II today assured that businessman and suspected drug lord Peter Lim and his co-respondents in a drug case are not yet off the hook after Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors dismissed the criminal complaint.
“Suffice it to say that the current status of the case against the respondents Peter Lim et al, does not mean that it is a final exoneration of their respective criminal liabilities,” Aguirre said.
“Under our present procedure in the DOJ, there are possible avenues to review this case, either by a motion for reconsideration, or ultimately, by way of automatic review by my office,” he explained.
A DOJ panel of prosecutors has issued a resolution which dismissed the complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s Major Crimes Investigation Unit (PNP-CIDG-MCIU) against Lim and his co-respondents for allegedly violating Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5 (Sale, Trading, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals) of Republic Act 9165, also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
On the other hand, the Secretary assured that his office has “no hand nor say on the resolution of this case.”
The DOJ resolution was signed by Assistant State Prosecutors Michael John Humarang and Aristotle Reyes with the approving signatures of Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr. and Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rassendell Rex Gingoyon.
“The dismissal is a slight bump on our war against drugs. It is likewise a wakeup [call] to all concerned that our efforts–from apprehension to resolution to conviction–must be concerted and thorough,” Aguirre said.
“However, we remain committed to waging the war on drugs,” he said.
Aside from Lim, those who have been cleared in the complaint are self-confessed drug lord Roland “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr., convicted drug lord Peter Co, alleged drug supplier Lovely Impal, drug dealer Marcelo Adorco, Max Miro, Ruel Malindangan, Jun Pepito, and several others who are only known through the aliases Amang, Ricky, Warren, Tupie, Jojo, Jaime, Yawa, Lapi, Royroy, Marlon, and Bay.
The PNP based its complaint on the sworn statements issued by Adorco who was arrested on July 8, 2016 during a drug buy-bust operation in Albuera, Leyte.
“Assessing Adorco’s allegations in his affidavits, we, however, find the same unworthy of consideration,” read the resolution.
“His testimonies are rife with inconsistencies and contradictions, and run against the standards of human experience and the logical course of reality,” the resolution pointed out.
“Indeed, for an evidence to be believed, it must proceed not only from the mouth of a credible witness but must be credible in itself as to hurdle the test of conformity with the knowledge and common experience of mankind,” it stressed.