Pangulong Duterte Nagsalit na sa Pagdismiss ni Aguirre sa Drug Cases "“Kapag nakawala yan si Lim at Espinosa, siya ang ipapalit ko!"

Pangulong Duterte Nagsalit na sa Pagdismiss ni Aguirre sa Drug Cases "“Kapag nakawala yan si Lim at Espinosa, siya ang ipapalit ko!"

Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to dismiss charges against self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and alleged drug lord Peter Lim got President Rodrigo Duterte dissatisfied.

Duterte admonished Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III over the state prosecutors’ decision to clear Espinosa, a confessed drug lord, Lim, and several others of drug charges, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

“[Kapag] nakawala yan si Lim at Espinosa, siya ang ipapalit ko. I can review that dismissal order. Nag-amin na nga sa Congress! Why not admit it as evidence against him?” Roque quoted Duterte as saying.

“I will invoke my power of supervision and control and will review dismissal,” the President said, according to Roque. 

Duterte made this statement during the joint command conference of the military and police in Malacañang.

“During the command conference, it was decided that the Philippine National Police will appeal the DOJ’s decision to clear the alleged drug personalities of the charges”, Roque said.

“Aguirre has formed a new investigation panel to review cases against Lim and Espinosa”, he added.

Duterte earlier tagged Peter Lim as the Visayan member of the drug triad in the Philippines. The two other alleged drug bigwigs the President identified were Peter Co and Herbert Colanggo, who are both behind bars in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
The DOJ cleared Espinosa, Lim and 20 others of drug charges due to lack of evidence according to a Dec. 20, 2017 resolution approved by acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr. and made public only on Monday.

"Our law enforcement agencies shall gather more concrete and competent evidence proving that respondents and other individuals are indeed involved in illegal drug activities," the DOJ resolution read.

“Police can file charges again but they have to make sure that these are backed by more evidence and corroborated testimonies”, the DOJ said.

The decision can still be reviewed either through "a motion for reconsideration, or ultimately, by way of automatic review" of his office according to Aguirre.

"The dismissal is a slight bump on the war against drugs, it is likewise a wake up to all concerned that our efforts, from apprehension to resolution to conviction must be concerted and thorough," Aguirre said in a statement.

"Suffice it to say that the current status of the case against the respondents Peter Lim et al., does not mean that it is a final exoneration [from] their respective criminal liabilities," he added.

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