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Aguirre apologizes to prosecutors under probe over dismissal of drug raps vs. Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday apologized to the state prosecutors he had ordered investigated over their resolution recommending the dismissal of drug raps against personalities including Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa.

Aguirre said he knew that the prosecutors, who work under his department's wing, had been hurt by his order, which he said was made because of the public uproar that followed the publication of the controversial resolution.

"Again, I apologize to the prosecutors for causing the investigation, because extraordinary times or extraordinary incidents call for extraordinary solutions or at least measures," the Justice chief said at Monday morning's flag rites at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

He said he made the move to show the public that the DOJ has nothing to hide.

"Para lang maipakita natin sa lahat ng kinauukulan, sa ating mga kababayan na wala tayong tinatago dito and that you, the prosecutors, decided this case in accordance with the rules, in accordance with our procedures in the workings of the DOJ," he said.

"Pasensiya na po kayo sapagkat 'yun ay ginawa ko lamang alang-alang para protektahan kayo, ang ating DOJ," he added, later acknowledging that "it is not correct" for him to have ordered the investigation.

Aristotle Reyes, one of the prosecutors under the probe Aguirre has ordered, is now a regional trial court judge.

Aguirre has since ordered the review of the dismissal of the drug charges against Lim, Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co and other personalities. The dismissal is now considered "vacated," and both parties are encouraged to submit evidence to support their claims.

The motion for reconsideration filed by the police appealing the December 20,2017 resolution is deemed "moot" given Aguirre's recent order.

He has also assigned a new panel of prosecutors to review the case.

Aguirre also said he has apologized to President Rodrigo Duterte over the "prematurely disclosed" outcome of the case as he explained how DOJ procedures work.

"Naliwanagan naman siya. Even during the height, noong biglang pumutok ito, sabi ko nga eh, 'I apologize, Mr. President, for the great outrage na nangyari dito because of premature disclosure," he said. —KG, GMA News