MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) found probable cause to charge self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and convicted drug lord Peter Co, among others.
In a case filed before the Makati City Regional Trial Court on Friday, Espinosa, Co, Lovely Impal, Marcelo Adorco, and Ruel Malindagan were accused of violating Section 26 (b) in relation to Section 5 of Article 2 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The indictment was a reversal of the previous verdict from the former prosecution panel of DOJ, which cleared the respondents of criminal liabilities under the case filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
“The new prosecution panel found sufficient the positive allegations of Marcelo Adorco, identifying Espinosa, Co, Impal, and Malindagan as his cohorts to charge them with conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade,” the DOJ said.
Peter Lim, a Cebu-based businessman, was not included in the charge sheet as his case remains pending after his motion for a separate preliminary investigation was granted by the DOJ panel.
The prosecution panel, meanwhile, dismissed the charges against three respondents – Max Miro, Nestor “Jun” Pepito and Rowen Reyes Secretaria – as they have already passed away.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde welcomed DOJ’s reversal saying that CIDG’s case buildup against the respondents were consistent.
“Rest assured the PNP will provide DOJ with all available evidence and information to establish a strong case against the respondents,” Albayalde said.
The reversal came seven months after another panel of prosecutors dismissed the same complaint for insufficiency of evidence.
Then-DOJ secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered a “wide open review” of the complaint that allowed the parties to submit the necessary evidence./PN