DOJ reverses 2017 findings, orders filing of case vs Kerwin, et al.
DOJ Press Conference on Kerwin Espinosa et al case
Posted by Tere Torres-Tupas on Thursday, July 19, 2018
Updated 8:00 p.m.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the filing of drug charges against self-confessed drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co and four others.
In its resolution, the DOJ panel of prosecutors reversed last year the findings that the case against them should be dismissed due to the insufficiency of evidence.
A case 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 will be filed against Kerwin, Wu Tuan a.k.a. Peter Co, Lovely Imperial and Ruel Malindagan before the Makati City Regional Trial Court. Section 26 (B) is attempt or conspiracy while Section 5 refers to the sale, trading, administration, dispensation,
The resolution does not cover their co-respondent Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim, as the panel earlier granted his motion for a separate preliminary investigation.
Lim’s case is still a pending resolution by the panel.
“The prosecution panel found sufficient the positive allegations of Marcelo Adorco identifying Espinosa, Co, Impal and Malindagan as his cohorts to charge them with conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade,” the DOJ said.
Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon said the earlier resolution clearing Kerwin and has been reversed by the current panel of prosecutors because “there are evidence submitted to the second panel which was not made available to the first one.”
“So if you’re going to ask why is it that the first panel found this way while the second panel found this way, it’s all a matter of appreciating the evidence presented before us. As the prosecutor general explained, there were pieces of evidence before that were not presented which were presented before our panel so this actually changes the equation,” Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera added. Navera is the head of the second DOJ investigating panel of prosecutors. Other members include State Prosecutor Anna Noreen Devanadera and Prosecution Attorney Herbert Calvin Abugan.
Adorco was the right-hand man of Espinosa and was the main prosecution witness against the respondents.
In his testimony, Adorco claimed Lim had supplied illegal drugs 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.
The panel of prosecutors said: “Under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading is an offense distinct from drug trading.”
It further “clarified that the agreement to trade in drugs is the gravamen” — the most serious part of an accusation — “of such an offense” adding that the drugs themselves as the corpus delicti or concrete evidence of drug trading are “not necessary” under Section 26 (b) of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Likewise, the panel said it also relied on Espinosa’s confession during a Senate inquiry that he traded illegal drugs in the Visayas region.
On the other hand, the panel dismissed the charges against respondents Max Miro, Nestor “Jun” Pepito and Rowen Reyes Secretaria as their criminal liabilities were extinguished by their recent deaths. with Micah Yurielle P. Atienza/INQUIRER.net intern
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