New DOJ panel to reinvestigate drug raps vs. Lim, Espinosa

MANILA The Department of Justice (DOJ) has created a new panel of prosecutors who would review the dismissal of the criminal complaint filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) against Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim, Roland Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Co and several others due to their alleged involvement in illegal drugs operations in Central and Eastern Visayas.

In Department Order (DO) No. 151 issued Wednesday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II designated Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, Assistant State Prosecutor Ana Noreen Devanadera and Prosecuting Attorney Herbert Calvin Abugan while Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon was designated as the Acting Prosecutor General.

I ordered the creation of a new panel that will handle the review of the DOJ's reso on Peter Lim's case, Aguirre said.

The (new) panel will handle the MR (motion for reconsideration) filed by PNP. Pati Acting PG (Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan) will not participate, he added.

Aguirre said the panel would handle the motion for reconsideration filed by the PNP last month.

The PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has already filed an appeal seeking the reversal of the DOJ's decision on the matter.

Probers now under probe

Meanwhile, Aguirre also ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the prosecutors who dismissed the drug case against Lim, Espinosa and several others.

In his Department Order No. 152, Aguirre tasked the NBI to investigate and do a possible case build-up to see if the members of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) committed possible misfeasance, malfeasance or non-feasance or other violations of law in the dismissal of complaint filed by the PNP.

Under the Revised Penal Code, malfeasance is doing an act prohibited by law or doing an act ought not to be done while misfeasance is the improper or irregular performance of an act and nonfeasance is the non performance, failure or refusal to do an act which one is required to do.

"In the interest of the service...the NBI, through Director Dante A. Gierran, is hereby directed and granted authority to conduct investigation and case build-up to determine possible misfeasance, malfeasance or non-feasance or other violations of law by members of the panel of the NPS over the dismissal of the case entitled: "PNP-CIDG-MCIU vs. Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa et al" and if evidence so warrants, to file appropriate charges thereon," read Aguirre's order.

The move comes after a DOJ panel of prosecutors issued a resolution dated December 20, 2017 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.

Aside from Lim, Espinosa and Co, those who have been named as respondents in the complaint are alleged drug supplier Lovely Impal, 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 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.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday said that he would invoke his "power of supervision and control" to review the dismissal order of the criminal complaint filed against Lim and several others.

This was stated by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on his Facebook and Twitter accounts during a joint command conference with the President.

PRRD: (on DOJ dismissal of case vs Lim and Espinosa) I will invoke my power of supervision and control and will review dismissal, Roque said, quoting the President.

Sought for comment, Aguirre said It's unfortunate but I have nothing to do with the issuance of the Resolution by the NPS. We could only intervene if the case is brought to us in Petition for Review or on Automatic Review.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Related posts