MANILA Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday welcomed the Makati Regional Trial Court's (RTC) issuance of an arrest warrant against businessman and alleged drug lord Peter Lim and others, who were indicted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the drug charges filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The issuance of the warrant means that the judge has also found probable cause against the accused, Guevarra told reporters.
The justice chief also said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) can help the police locate the suspects.
The warrant of arrest is generally addressed to all law enforcement agencies, including the NBI. If the police fail to find the accused, I will direct the NBI to assist, Guevarra said.
On Tuesday, Makati RTC Branch 65 Acting Presiding Judge Gina Bibat-Palamos ordered the arrest of Lim, along with self-confessed druglord Roland Kerwin Espinosa, Espinosa's arrested associate Marcelo Adorco, and Ruel Malindangan.
The respondents face two counts of the non-bailable offense of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade in violation of Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
After careful evaluation of the Information and the supporting evidence, this Court finds that it has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the information and that probable cause exist to hold accused Peter Go Lim, Rolan Espinosa a.k.a. Kerwin, Marcelo Adorco, and Ruel Malindangan for trial, read the court order.
Bibat-Palamos also set the arraignment of all of the accused at 1:30 p.m. on August 28.
Espinosa is in the custody of the NBI, while Adorco is with the Philippine National Police (PNP). Lim remains at large.
The prosecutors, led by Navera, with members Anna Noreen Devanadera and Associate Prosecution Attorney Herbert Calvin Abugan, last Monday filed a motion asking the same court to issue a hold departure order (HDO) against Lim.
In response to the DOJ's request, Palamos also issued another order on Tuesday, setting the hearing on Aug. 17 regarding the issuance of an HDO against Lim.
Apart from the two charges, state prosecutors filed charges against Espinosa, Adorco, and Malindagan, arrested alleged drug supplier Lovely Impal, and convicted drug lord Peter Co, after the panel of prosecutors led by Navera found probable cause to indict them based on the complaint of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
The charges filed last July 25 are for two counts of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade at the Manila RTC and another count of the same violation at the Makati RTC. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency