Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu
THE Department of Justice has dismissed the illegal drug charges against Cebu-based businessman and presidential kumpare Peter Lim, confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and eight others.
In a 41-page resolution, the DoJ’s panel of prosecutors dismissed for lack of probable cause the complaint for sale, administration, dispensation, trading, delivery and transportation of illegal drugs under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act against Lim and other respondents filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group last year.
The investigating prosecutors also dropped the charges against Peter Co, Max Miro, Ruel Malindangan, Jun Pepito and Lovely Adam Impal.
The DoJ rejected the testimony of respondent-turned-witness Marcelo Adorco who tagged Lim as supplier of illegal drugs to Espinosa.
“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 be credible.
Given that Adorco is not a credible witness—judging from the material inconsistencies and improbability of his allegations,” the DoJ resolution signed by Asst. State Prosecutors Michael John Humarang and Aristotle Reyes said.
Adorco claimed in his affidavit that Lim had supplied narcotics in “staggering amounts” to suspected drug kingpin Kerwin Espinosa for more than two years.
However, prosecutors held that 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,” the resolution said.
The investigating panel also cited as basis the complainant’s “failure 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,” it said.
Instead, the DoJ panel gave weight to Lim’s denial of the allegation that he had met with Espinosa and Adorco in Thailand on June 4, 2015 for the delivery of 50 kilos of shabu to Espinosa since it was physically impossible because he has never been to Bangkok.
In his counter-affidavit, he vehemently denied the drug charges as “baseless and nonsensical.” He said he was never involved in illegal drug trade in Central Visayas as alleged by the PNP and never met Marcelo Adorco or Kerwin Espinosa and other respondents tagged in the illegal drug trade.
The businessman had denied that he was the alias Jaguar in the government’s narco-list who was the supplier of illegal drugs to the group of Espinosa, recalling that he even presented himself before the National Bureau of Investigation earlier.
The DoJ resolution dated Dec. 20, 2017 was not officially released to the media, and only obtained by reporters from an insider in the department on Monday.
Pursuant to DoJ rules on drug cases, the dismissal of the case would be subject to review by the Justice secretary.
Meanwhile, a Manila court has ordered the arrest of Chen Ju Long, a.k.a. Richard Chen or Richard Tan, in connection with the P6.4 billion worth of shabu that was smuggled through the Bureau of Customs. Chen was the forwarder of the shipment.
At the Palace, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said former Iloilo City mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog’s refusal to return to the country was proof that he was guilty of the charges being hurled against him.
“Flight is evidence of guilt,” Roque said over the weekend. “If he wants to clear his name, he should come back and face the court.”
He added that if he feared for his safety, he could file a writ of Amparo for his own protection.
Roque declined to respond to Mabilog’s former wife Marivic, who said President Rodrigo Duterte was mentally ill, saying, “I don’t respond to people who are not worthy of any response. She’s one of them.”