Prosecutor in Lim, Espinosa case dismissal accepts Aguirre apology

MANILA One of the state prosecutors who dismissed the criminal complaint against businessman Peter Lim, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, and 20 others accepted Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II's apology for issuing an order to probe them.

Natutuwa po kami at nauunawaan ni Secretary (Aguirre) ang aming trabaho. Na-boost ang morale namin sa sinabi niya (We are happy that Secretary Aguirre understands our work. His pronouncement boosted our morale, Assistant State Prosecutor Michael John Humarang said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Humarang, however, said he understands the DOJ chief's order to have them investigated for possible malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance when they issued the resolution.

Aguirre clarified that his earlier order is for the protection, not only of the Office of the Secretary of Justice but also of the prosecutors concerned.

I apologize to the prosecutors for crossing the investigation, because extraordinary times or extraordinary incidents call for extraordinary solutions or at least measured. So, para lang maipakita natin sa lahat ng kinauukulan, sa ating mga kababayan na wala tayong tinatago dito(To show to the authorities and to our countrymen that we are not hiding anything) and that you, the prosecutors decided this case in accordance with the rules, in accordance with our procedures in the workings of the DOJ, Aguirre said in his speech during Monday's flag ceremony.

It can be recalled that Humarang and Assistant State Prosecutor Aristotle Reyes junked the complaint filed by the PNP-CIDG against Espinosa, Lim, Co and the other respondents in connection with their alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade.

Reyes has been appointed by President Duterte as Regional Trial Court judge in Lucena City.

The panel deemed the case filed by the PNP-CIDG as weak. The prosecutors said the complainant relied heavily on the testimonies of Marcelo Adorco, which were inconsistent based on his three affidavits.

The Justice Secretary said he himself had explain to President Duterte because he was misinformed about the incident.

Aguirre said he made it clear to Duterte that the decision of the DOJ prosecutors to dismiss the criminal complaint filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) would be automatically reviewed by his office.

I asked the two parties to file all the other evidence they may have for them to be considered by a new panel (of DOJ prosecutors), he said.

Aguirre said the new panel of prosecutors is empowered to continue the preliminary investigation on the cases against the two alleged drug kingpins.

Because of this continuing outrage of the ignorant, what I did is that I recall the dismissal the drugs cases against Kerwin and company and created a new panel to continue the investigation and clarificatory of this case and I asked the two parties to file all order that they may have their evidence para yan ang i-consider ng ating (so that will be considered by our) new panel and the motion for reconsideration filed by CIDG has been moot and academic because of this order, he explained.

The measure, Aguirre said, would allow the parties including the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) to submit additional pieces of evidence in support of their respective position.

Aguirre said the CIDG can now beef up their case before a credible panel of prosecutors the motion for reconsideration they have filed on the original December 20, 2017 resolution.

Source: Philippine News Agency