• Duterte to personally review dismissed drug raps vs ‘drug lords’


    PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will personally oversee and review the recent dismissal of the charges against alleged drug lords, Malacanang said.

    “PRRD: (on DOJ dismissal of case against Lim, Espinosa and several others) I will invoke my power of supervision and control and will review dismissal,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. quoted the President as saying in a series of posts on Facebook during the joint command conference of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police at the Heroes’ Hall in Malacanang late Tuesday night.

    Roque said Duterte also kidded Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd that he would put him behind bars if the alleged drug personalities escaped.

    “PRRD to SOJ: Pag nakawala yan si Lim at Espinosa, sya ang ipapalit ko. I can review that dismissal order. Nag-amin na nga sa Congress [si Espinosa]! Why not admit it as evidence against him?” Roque quoted Duterte as saying.

    (If Lim and Espinosa escape, I will replace them with him. I can review that dismissal order. Espinosa already admitted in Congress. Why not admit it as evidence against him?)

    In December 2016, Espinosa admitted in the Senate that he was involved in illegal drugs.

    Roque also said that Aguirre formed a new investigation panel to review the case.

    In a press briefing on Tuesday morning, Roque said that the case was far from over and the Palace was hoping that the dismissal would be overturned.

    “Hindi pa po tapos ang boxing laban kay Peter Lim at dito kay Kerwin Espinosa. Rerepasuhin pa po ‘yan ng Kalihim ng Department of Justice, at sisiguraduhin na tama ang naging naunang desisyon ng ating mga public prosecutors,” Roque said.

    (The boxing match isn’t over against Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa. [The case] will be thoroughly reviewed by our Secretary of Justice and [he will]ensure that the initial decision of the public prosecutors is correct.)

    “Ang pangako po ng ating Presidente, eh kung kulang ang ebidensiya, dadagdagan; at kung mayroong kababalaghan, parurusahan naman ang mga responsable ‘no,” Roque said.

    (The President vowed that if the evidence was lacking, [the government will file additional evidence]and if there are anything suspicious, punishments will be handed to those responsible.)

    On Monday morning, the Department of Justice (DoJ) cleared the alleged drug lords in connection with operations in the Visayas region.

    The case filed by the PNP- Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) stemmed from the delivery of the illegal drugs to a grocery store in Makati City and then distributed by Espinosa’s men to Bohol, Samar, Northern and Southern Leyte, Biliran and some parts of Cebu.

    The transactions supposedly involved 20 kilos of shabu from Peter Co on February 5, 2013; 20 kilos from Lim on February 16, 2013; and 50 kilos from Lim on June 7, 2015. There were four other supposed transactions and deliveries with Lim as supplier, allegedly in 2014.

    Espinosa, tagged as the “biggest drug lord in the Visayas region is the son of Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., who was killed by CIDG men in his detention quarters in 2016.

    Lim is reportedly a kumpadre (fellow wedding sponsor) of the President. RALPH EDWIN U. VILLANUEVA



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