DOJ clears Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa, 6 others for drug trafficking charges
Cebuano businessman Peter Lim can heave a sigh of relief.
The Depatment of Justice’s (DOJ) Task Force on Illegal Drugs has dismissed the drug charges filed against Lim and at least seven others for failure of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to present sufficient evidence against the respondents.
In its official resolution, Assistant State Prosecutors Michael John Humarang and Aristotle Reyes said the CIDG must refrain from filing cases on the basis “solely of an uncorroborated testimony of an evidently self-serving witness.”
The resolution was approved by Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan.
Aside from Lim, the special task force also dismissed the charges against self-confessed Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co, alleged drug supplier Lovely Adam Impal, Marcelo Adorco, Max Miro, Ruel Malindangan and Jun Pepito.
As part of the procedure, the entire records of the case, shall be elevated to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II for automatic review.
Lim’s Manila-based lawyers Francis Alex Lopez and Miguel Gabionza, who represented him at the DOJ, were not available for comment yet.
Although he didn’t handle the case, Cebuano lawyer Pedro Leslie Salva said they were nonetheless happy with its outcome.
“At least, his name was cleared and truth came out,” he told the Inquirer over the phone.
Salva said Lim’s family was badly affected by the accusations hurled against the businessman.
“We’re grateful to President Duterte for giving him (Lim) the chance to explain and tell the truth. We strongly support the government’s campaign against illegal drugs because these prohibited substances are really not good for the country,” he said.
Lim was publicly named by President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the country’s biggest drug lords. He was also identified by Espinosa as one of his suppliers of shabu (crystal meth).
In July 2017, the CIDG’s Major Crimes Investigation Unit filed a case against Lim, Espinosa and six others for alleged conspiracy to commit the “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals.”
The criminal conspiracy, the CIDG said, was continuously existing in various places in Makati City, as well as in Central and Eastern Visayas from February 2013 to August 2015 at the very least.
The CIDG presented as its lone witness Adorco, one of the respondents and the alleged henchman of self-confessed Cebuano drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.
Lim, who owns Hilton Heavy Equipment in Mandaue City, Cebu, has repeatedly denied the accusations hurled against him.
Lim was first dragged into the illegal drugs trade in 2001. He and his brother Wellington were subjected to a congressional inquiry on illegal drugs.
Two of their former employees — Bernard Liu and Ananias Dy — detailed the businessman’s involvement in illegal drugs during the investigation.
The congressional panel that investigated the Lim brothers found probable cause against Lim and asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to “fortify” the evidence against the siblings.
The case, however, did not move forward.
In July 2006, Dy was shot dead by two unidentified men at the corner of Salvador and Katipunan Streets in Barangay Labangon, Cebu City.
Liu, on the other hand, was already decomposing when found in his house in Talisay City in September 2011. A rope was tied around his neck and crude oil poured over his body.
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