By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has formed another panel of prosecutors which will continue the preliminary investigation over the drug complaint against businessman and alleged drug lord Peter Lim and his co-respondents.
Aguirre made the move after being criticized when a panel of prosecutors of the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued the December 20, 2017 resolution which dismissed the drug complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s Major Crimes Investigation Unit (PNP-CIDG-MCIU).
The PNP has already filed a motion for reconsideration dated February 20 which sought to reverse the dismissal of the case.
In his order dated March 19, Aguirre said “the Resolution dated December 20, 2017 dismissing this instant case be vacated and the above-mentioned case be remanded to a new panel of prosecutors for purposes of conducting the continuation of the preliminary investigation/clarificatory hearing and to allow the complainant and respondents to submit additional pieces of evidence in support of their respective positions.”
“Accordingly, the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the complainant and received by the Department of Justice on February 20, 2018 is hereby deemed moot,” he added.
Aguirre indicated in his order that he gave the directive pursuant to his powers provided under Republic Act 10071 (Prosecution Service Act of 2010) in relation to DOJ Department Circular No. 004 dated January 4, 2017 regarding automatic review of criminal complaints.
Under the complaint, Lim and his co-respondents are accused of 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.
Aside from Lim, those who have been named as respondents in the complaint are self-confessed drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co, alleged drug supplier Lovely Impal, arrested alleged 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. Adorco has worked for Espinosa.
However, the panel of prosecutors which dismissed the case ruled that “his testimonies are rife with inconsistencies and contradictions, and run against the standards of human experience and the logical course of reality.”