MANILA Officials of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) on Wednesday welcomed Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II's order to form a new panel of prosecutors who would take up the case against confessed drug lords Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Lim.
In a press briefing in Camp Crame, CIDG chief Director Roel Obusan said they chose not to include Espinosa's admission before lawmakers in the charge sheet before prosecutors and instead rely on the testimony of Espinosa's aide, Marcelo Adorco, after the alleged kingpin of the drug trade in Eastern Visayas recanted his statements before the Senate.
"Nag-file ako ng (I filed an) MR (motion for reconsideration). Why? Because I believe I have my point, my case to go with kaya nga hindi namin tinatapos after the dismissal (We are not giving up after the dismissal). We continue and aggressively push through kasi (because) we believe we have a case," Obusan explained adding that his office received the DOJ ruling dated December 20 of last year on February 7, and that they filed an appeal shortly afterwards.
"Ang pina-file namin na kaso ay yung mga activities ni Kerwin Espinosa as supplier ng illegal drugs na ginagamit si (Marcelo) Adorco, meaning suspect si Kerwin Espinosa kaya 'yung kanyang mga transactions as far as Peter Lim, Lovely Impal and Peter Co yun ang tumakbo habang sinasalaysay ng kanyang self confessed na bodyguard na utusan n'ya sa pagkuha at pagtanggap ng shabu (Our case is regarding the activities of Kerwin Espinosa as supplier of illegal drugs using (Marcelo Adorco). It means Kerwin Espinosa is a suspect because of his transactions with Peter Lim, Lovely Impal and Peter Co that were revealed by his self-confessed bodyguard whom he ordered to get and receive shabu for him)," Obusan said.
Contrary to the findings of the DOJ, the CIDG chief said the lone testimony of Adorco should have been sufficient for prosecutors to find probable cause which is sufficient enough to take the case to court instead of dismissing it outright.
"So itong kanyang driver na si Adorco ay may direct participation sa paglaganap ng droga (So his driver Adorco has direct participation in the proliferation of illegal drugs). So yung direct participation na yun it's no longer hearsay, it does not need any collaboration because that is a direct participation coming from a person directly involved doon sa paggawa ng kasalanan (in committing a wrongdoing)," he said.
Obusan said that while Espinosa's admission before the Senate was admissible in court, undue complications arose after Espinosa later on changed his mind.
"(A) testimony or admission sa Senate kasi under oath pero (but) you can always retract and that is what he did," he explained.
Noting other incidents involving Espinosa and the illegal drug trade, Obusan said the recent setback would not preclude the re-filing of the case.
"Ang dismissal in the prosecutor's office ng isang complaint na finile ng PNP or police officers or law enforcement, walang double jeopardy dyan kasi hindi mo pa pwedeng i-exercise ang double jeopardy mo. As long as we can again search for new evidence we can file a case kasi a case is a case and if there need be na gamitin ko yung subpoena powers after na pwede ko na i-apply, why not (Regarding the dismissal of a complaint in a prosecutor's office filed by the PNP, police officers or law enforcement, double jeopardy doesn't apply here. As long as we can again search for new evidence, we can file a case because a case is a case and if there is a need to use subpoena powers, why not?)," Obusan said.
As an example, Obusan said that in the case involving Aegis Juris Fraternity men charged with the death of hazing victim Horatio Atio Castillo III, a lone witness Mark Ventura was sufficient for prosecutors to elevate the case to the courts.
Source: Philippine News Agency