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DU30 should closely monitor big-time drug cases

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc March 15,2018 - 11:16 PM


With the dismissal of the case against Peter Lim, Peter Co, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and others at the level of the Department of Justice (DOJ), it cannot be avoided that people formulate a lot of questions.

Are the respondents really innocent? Was probable cause not really established against them? Was it not the result of the respondents’ combination of money, power and connections? These are just preliminary questions.

Some want to impute malice by asking if this is not the result of Peter Lim’s connection with President Rodrigo Duterte being his “kumpadre (co-wedding sponsor).”

Was that connection not manifested early on when Lim was able to ask an audience with the President in Davao City when the latter mentioned his name as drug lord in the Visayas?

By the way, who was that powerful and influential person who made that meeting arrangement?

Is it not hard to imagine that an alleged big-time drug lord was given the privilege to meet the President in person?

Does the dismissal have something to do with Lim’s connection to the President?

If yes, then the President is not really serious in his advocacy to eradicate drugs in this country. If no, then it is incumbent upon him to look into the circumstances of its dismissal.

Note that the dismissal is an incident within the province of the executive department.

Duterte can check his alter ego, Justice Secretary Vitallano

Aguirre and the PNP-CIDG, the one that filed the case. He can dissect where the case went wrong.

It is worth mentioning that Duterte, being a lawyer and an experienced prosecutor, is not unaware and totally blind as to when a case should be dismissed within the prosecutor’s level and when it should be filed. He was not born yesterday.

Duterte should ask an explanation from Aguirre because the DOJ’s action will boomerang on his shame campaign.

He can also ask an explanation from the PNP-CIDG as to why it did not file an airtight case.

Did the CIDG fail to gather ample evidence? Did the DOJ fail to appreciate the probable cause? Was there something fishy?

For emphasis, without probable cause, the DOJ has to dismiss the case so that government will not waste its time and resources in prosecuting a useless case.

However, if probable cause is established then an appropriate case should be filed in court; after all, evidentiary matters are best passed upon in a full-blown court trial.

If the case reaches the court, which to say that Secretary Aguirre reverses the prosecutors’ finding, said court may issue a warrant of arrest, and Lim would experience the agony of living in the prison cell at least while the case is pending.

It would be up to the court to make a decision. But this may not happen anymore if the president stumbles.

Likewise the question why the DOJ resolution only came out this week when it is dated December 20, 2017 is also a valid one. Why was the panel of handling prosecutors not transparent in giving updates on a controversial case?

Do people believe that prosecutors Michael John Humarang, Aristotle Reyes, Rassendell Rex Gingoyon and Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr. acted on their own in signing the 41-page controversial resolution?

Another point that should be given attention is the admission of the DOJ and PNP-CIDG that there was only one witness, Marcelo Adorco, against the respondents.

I learned from Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido that the said witness has not yet been put under the witness protection program of the government until today.

If the state is serious in running after the respondents why did they not secure the lone witness under government protection? It is presumed that Adorco is a vital witness of CIDG otherwise the latter would have not used him in this case.

It needless to remind them that Bernard Liu and Ananias DY, the witnesses against Lim were controversially killed. I don’t want to make a connection, but I hope it could give the authority a lesson or two.

That if they really care for the witness.

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TAGS: Du30, Monitor, should

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