MANILA The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to file criminal charges before the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Tuesday against self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co and several others.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, who chairs the second panel of prosecutors handling the complaint filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP), said they are supposed to file the case on Friday but opted to move it to a later date due to continuous rains that resulted in flooded areas in Manila and Makati.
Because of flood in Makati and Manila and the intervening weekend. We will file the charges tomorrow (Tuesday), Navera told reporters on Monday.
On Thursday, the second prosecution panel composed of Navera, Assistant State Prosecutor Anna Noreen Devanadera and Prosecution Attorney Herbert Calvin Abugan found probable cause to charge Espinosa, Co, Lovely Imperial and Ruel Malindagan for violation of Section 26 (B) in relation to Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Acts of 2002.
The panel explained that under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading is an offense distinct from drug trading. It clarified that the agreement to trade in drugs is the gravamen (most serious part) of such an offense. The drugs themselves as corpus delicti of the drug trading is not necessary under Section 28 (B) of the law, read the resolution approved by Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon.
Navera said the panel gave weight to the testimonies of Marcelo Adorco, Espinosa's driver, who identified Espinosa, Co, Impal and Malindagan as his cohorts to charge them with conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade.
In our resolution, which speaks for itself, we explained that the gravamen of the offense in conspiracy is the conspiracy itself the agreement to engage in illegal drug trade. So there's really no need to present the drug itself and this has been explained by the Supreme Court...so we just took it from there based on the prevailing doctrine regarding the offense of conspiracy," Navera noted.
The panel also considered Espinosa's confession, admitting that he traded in drugs in Region 7.
Espinosa's confession appears in the transcript of stenographic notes on the legislative investigation of the Senate Committees on Justice and Public Order, the panel pointed out.
In his testimony, Adorco claimed businessman Peter Lim, another respondent in the drug case, had supplied narcotics in staggering amounts to Espinosa for more than two years.
He said one such transaction involved the delivery of 50 kilos of shabu which Lim personally handed to Espinosa at the parking lot of Cash & Carry supermarket in Makati City on June 7, 2015.
Lim filed a motion to have a separate preliminary investigation regarding the drug case against him.
Navera had explained that the second panel granted Lim's motion for a separate preliminary investigation.
He assured that the second panel is busy drafting the resolution regarding the accusations against Lim.
As we speak the resolution is already being drafted. So as soon as it is ready we will release it, he said.
The complaint was filed by the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. It was junked on Dec. 20, 2017 by the department, led by then Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, but later reinstated.
Navera explained the second panel made a different finding since more evidence were presented during its preliminary investigation.
There were evidence before that were not presented which were presented before our panel. So this actually changes the equation, Navera said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency