Kerwin Espinosa pleads not guilty to charge of drug trade conspiracy
Self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to the charge of conspiracy to engage in narcotics trade filed against him and three others before the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 65.
Espinosa’ former associate Marcelo Adorco, who is under the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP) also pleaded not guilty before Makati City RTC Branch 65 Presiding Judge Gina Bibat-Palamos.
Meanwhile, the two other accused, Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim and Ruel Malindangan, did not show up for the arraignment.
The court set the pre-trial on September 14, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera told reporters after the hearing.
“The arraignment of Kerwin Espinosa and Marcelo Adorco pushed through but obviously Peter Lim didn’t attend, so as to him, walang arraignment but the court scheduled the next hearing to September 14,” he said.
“Hopefully kung maarrest na siya (Lim) by then, pwede na isabay (‘yung arraignment niya), but for September 14, its a pre-trial and then presentation of our first prosecution witness,” Navera added.
Palamos ordered the arrest of the four suspects last August 14 after the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed against the defendants last August 10 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 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Navera also said the prosecution filed a motion for the issuance of an alias warrant against Lim, which is issued when an original warrant is returned without the subject appearing in court before a plea is entered. /vvp
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