DOJ junks drug raps vs. Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa

MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday dismissed the criminal complaint filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) against Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim, self-confessed drug dealer Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co and several others due to their alleged involvement in illegal drugs operations in Central and Eastern Visayas.

Peter Lim – Rene Lumwag/PPD/

In a 42-page resolution dated Dec. 20, 2017 but was released to media on Monday, Assistant State Prosecutors John Michael Humarang and Aristotle Reyes dismissed the case for violation of Section 26 (b) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act complaint filed by PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) against Lim, Espinosa and Co.

Beside from Lim, Espinosa and Co, cleared of violation of Section 26(b) of Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2000, were Marcelo Adorco, Max Miro, Lovely Adam Impal, Ruel Mangalindan and Jaime Jun Pepito, a village councilor in Albuera, Leyte and individuals identified only by their aliases namely Jeremy aka “Amang, Ricky, Warren, Tupie, Jojo, Yawa, Lapi, Royroy, Marlon, Bay, John Doe (alleged delivery man of Co), Peter Doe (alleged delivery man of Lim) and Robert Doe (also an alleged delivery man of Lim)”.

Section 26 (b) is an attempt or conspiracy for the sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical.

Adorco, Espinosa’s alleged henchman-turned-state witness, was also exonerated by the DOJ panel composed of Humarang and Reyes.

In his testimony, Adorco claimed Lim had supplied narcotics in “staggering amounts” to suspected drug kingpin Kerwin Espinosa for more than two years.

He said one such transaction involved the delivery of 50 kilos of shabu (crystal meth) which Lim personally handed to Espinosa at the parking lot of Cash & Carry supermarket in Makati City on June 7, 2015.

The DOJ prosecutors, however, said the witness’ allegations were “unworthy of consideration” and that his testimony was “rife with inconsistencies and contradictions.”

Moreover, Humarang and Reyes said Adorco’s claims were contrary to the “standards of human experience and the logical course of reality.”

“Indeed, for an evidence to be believed, it must proceed not only from the mouth of a credible witness, but must be credible in itself as to hurdle the test of conformity with the knowledgeable and common experience of mankind,” read the resolution approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Rassenell Rex Gingoyon and Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr.

“To our view, the above discrepancies in Adorco’s affidavits have seriously impaired their probative value and have casted serious doubts on their credibility. His contradictory statements on important details simply eroded the integrity and veracity of his testimony,” it added.

“Though it may be argued that the corpus delicti of a crime may be established even by a single witness’ uncorroborated testimony or even by circumstantial evidence, it is essential that this witness is credible. Given that Adorco is not a credible witness — judging from the material inconsistencies and improbability of his allegations,” it states.

The DOJ also pointed out that the “complainant has failed to present any circumstantial evidence to prove respondents illegal drug transactions, it is undeniable that the evidence in this case is grossly insufficient to justify a finding of probable cause that respondents engaged in the illegal drug trade.”

The prosecution also gave weight to Lim’s denial that he had met with Espinosa and respondent Adorco in Thailand on June 4, 2015 regarding the delivery of 50 kilos of shabu to Espinosa. It is because it was physically impossible for Lim to meet them because he was never in Bangkok.

Also in the resolution, the prosecution level ruled that “pursuant to Department Order No. 004, dated January 4, 2017, let the entire records of this case be elevated to the Secretary of Justice for Automatic Review.”

In its July 2017 complaint, the CIDG said Lim, along with his co-accused Co, who is currently detained in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City on drug trafficking charges and Lovely Impal as among those who supplied illegal drugs to Espinosa’s operation.

“Investigation disclosed that the group of Espinosa also known as “Boss K” was a transporter, trader. Seller and distributor of illegal drugs (shabu) in some areas they controlled in Regions 7 and 8 (Bohol, Samar, Northern and Southern Leyte, Biliran and some parts of Cebu). Their group was being supplied with shabu for distribution and trading by Peter Co, Lovely Impal, Peter Go Lim among others,’ part of the complaint said.

Based on the complaint, Lim allegedly supplied narcotics in “staggering amounts” to Espinosa for more than two years.