The dismissal of the drug charges against alleged drug peddlers Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa sends mixed signals as regards the Duterte administration's seriousness in going after drug lords in the country, Senator JV Ejercito said on Monday.
Ejercito made the remark after state prosecutors resolved to dismiss the drug raps filed against Lim and Espinosa.
"I am puzzled by the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to clear Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, Peter Co and others of charges related to the narcotics trade," Ejercito said in a statement.
Ejercito referred to Espinosa's testimony before a Senate inquiry in which the son of slain drug suspect Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa admitted transacting illegal drugs as early as 2005 with his earnings reaching P40 million to P50 million annually.
Espinosa, Ejercito said, also admitted to bribing government and police officials in order facilitate his illegal activities.
"At the very least, this decision sends mixed signals to the public in terms of our resolve to wage war against anyone dealing with illegal drugs, regardless of stature in life and the friends they have in high places," Ejercito said.
"I sincerely hope that the DOJ will continue to gather more concrete and competent evidence proving that respondents and other individuals are indeed involved in illegal drug activities," he added.
A 41-page resolution approved by Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan ruled that the "uncorroborated statements" of the complainant's witness, Marcelo Adorco, could not be admitted as evidence against the respondents.
The resolution described Adorco as an "evidently self-serving witness."
"To our view, the above discrepancies in Adorco's affidavits have seriously impaired their probative value and have casted serious doubt on their credibility," the resolution said.
"His contradictory statements on important details simply eroded the integrity and veracity of his testimony," it added.
Also cleared were respondents Peter Co, Adorco, Max Miro, Lovely Impal, Ruel Malindangan, Jun Pepito, and other individuals identified only through aliases.
Moreover, the resolution said the police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the complainant, was not "able to submit any object or illegal drugs constituting the corpus delicti of the alleged transactions."
"The dearth of complainant's evidence and Adorco's unreliability as a witness thus constrain us to dismiss the present complaint against the respondents," the resolution read.
The CIDG had accused the respondents of violation of Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, or the provisions against conspiring on the sale, trading, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs. —NB, GMA News