DOJ indicts Kerwin, Co, 2 others for drug trading
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reversed a Jan. 18 resolution that cleared confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co, and two alleged drug suppliers of drug trading charges.
In a decision released on Thursday, a new panel of state prosecutors indicted Espinosa, Co, Lovely Impal and Ruel Malindangan for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
The case will be filed in the Makati City Regional Trial Court on Friday.
Malacañang was pleased with the new resolution. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the wheels of justice were now turning to hold the suspects accountable.
The DOJ has not yet resolved whether to uphold its original decision to clear businessman Peter Lim of the same charges, as Lim has asked for a separate preliminary probe.
Deaths of 3 suspects
The new resolution also acknowledged the deaths of three of the suspects: Max Miro, Nestor Pepito and Rowen Reyes Secretaria. Ten other respondents were identified only by their aliases.
A panel composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera as chair with Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Anna Devanadera and Prosecution Attorney Herbert Abugan as members reversed the decision reached by the original panel last December.
Acting on the complaint of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the new panel said it also based its decision to indict Espinosa and the others on the testimony of drug-dealer-turned-state-witness Marcelo Adorco.
Disputing Espinosa’s argument that the police never proved that he had possessed “shabu” (crystal meth), the DOJ panel said the confiscation of illegal drugs was not necessary to establish liability.
“Conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading is an offense distinct from drug trading… 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,” the panel said in the resolution approved by acting Prosecutor General Richard Fadullon.
The panel also used Espinosa’s testimony in the Senate last year detailing his drug transactions in the Visayas. —WITH A REPORT FROM JULIE M. AURELIO
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