Manila court acquits Kerwin Espinosa, others over August 2016 drug raid
MANILA, Philippines — A Manila Regional Trial Court on Monday acquitted confessed drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa and several others for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (Republic Act 9165).
This drug case was related to the August 2016 police raid of the Espinosa residence in Sitio Tinago, Barangay Binulho in Albuera, Leyte.
During the raid, Espinosa and his family were abroad. Based on court records, Espinosa and his family left the Philippines on June 21, 2016, for Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Abu Dhabi. Espinosa was arrested in Dubai on October 17 of the same year and deported to Manila on November 16, 2016.
Following this acquittal, Espinosa is now left with one more drug-related case in Baybay, Leyte – where he was previously allowed to post bail – and two other cases for violating the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
In 2021, Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 64 granted Espinosa’s demurrer to evidence plea after the prosecution failed to prove a conspiracy for drug trading. Espinosa was joined by Lovely Impal, Wu Tuan Yuan, a.k.a. Peter Co, and Marcelo Adorco in the filing of this motion.
A “demurrer to evidence” is a formal suggestion to dismiss a case on grounds of insufficient evidence.
“The purported participation of Impal, Espinosa, and Yuan in the alleged conspiracy was based solely on Adorco’s recanted testimony, which is not only untrustworthy but also inadmissible for having been obtained in violation of his constitutional rights,” the Makati court said.
The Makati court added that the collective testimonies of the police officers “is not strong enough to show that the Espinosa Group conspired to commit illegal trade or illegal trafficking of dangerous drugs,” pointing out that “it is undisputed that the police officers have no personal knowledge of the crime that was allegedly committed.”
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