PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will personally review the dismissal of the complaints against several “drug lords,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said.
Roque gave updates of the President’s statements in a series of Facebook posts during the joint command conference of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police Tuesday night.
“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,” Roque posted.
He added that the President said in jest that he will put Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd behind bars if the alleged drug lords escape.
“Nag-amin na nga sa Congress! Why not admit it as evidence against him?” Roque quoted the President as saying.
He was referring to Kerwin Espinosa, son of slain Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., who was arrested in Abu Dhabi in 2016.
When he appeared at the Senate two years ago, Kerwin admitted that he was involved in illegal drugs.
The Department of Justice on Monday dismissed the charges against Espinosa and several other alleged drug lords – Peter Lim, Peter Co, Marcelo Adorco, Max Miro, Lovely Impal, Ruel Malindangan and Jun Pepito.
Roque said Aguirre has formed a new investigation panel to review the case.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on Wednesday maintained that the case against Espinosa and other drug lords was strong.
CIDG Director Roel Obusan said his agency filed a motion for reconsideration with the Justice department.
“I believe I have a point. I have a case to go with,” he said.
Obusan defended CIDG’s decision to use the testimony of Marcelo Adorco, Espinosa’s bodyguard, despite the DoJ’s statement that the evidence was “weak.”
The DoJ panel had said Adorco’s statement did not match with the evidence presented.
But Obusan said Adorco’s statement is credible and whatever inconsistencies that appeared are due to memory lapses.
He said the CIDG did not submit the affidavit of Espinosa confessing about his drug linkages because the accused retracted his statement.
WITH RALPH EDWIN U. VILLANUEVA