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Aguirre orders NBI to probe DOJ panel that cleared Lim, Espinosa

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the state prosecutors who composed the panel that dismissed drug charges against businessman Peter Lim, self-confessed drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa and other personalities.

In Department Order 152, released to the media early Wednesday morning, Aguirre also ordered and authorized NBI Director Dante Gierran to build a case to determine possible misfeasance, malfeasance or non-feasance or other legal violations by the same panel of the National Prosecution Service, which is under the Department of Justice.

The December 20, 2017 resolution that cleared Lim, Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co and other individuals of drug trading charges was signed by Assistant State Prosecutors Michael John Humarang and Aristotle Reyes.

Reyes was promoted to judge in Lucena Regional Trial Court Branch 15 in January this year.

OIC Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Rassendell Rex Gingoyon recommended approval of the resolution and Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan signed his approval.

The resolution, which cleared the respondents due to alleged weak evidence, has been criticized, but Aguirre earlier said that the verdict was not final as the case is still up for automatic review.

He has also ordered the creation of another panel that will handle the motion for reconsideration filed by the police.

This new panel will be composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, Assistant State Prosecutor Ana Noreen Devanadera and Prosecution Attorney Herbert Calvin Abugan.

Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon will act as Prosecutor General for the case, according to Department Order No. 151. —LBG, GMA News