The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday formally charged self-confessed drug operator Kerwin Espinosa and three others before the lower courts for violation of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, particularly conspiracy to commit
illegal drug trade.
Espinosa, along with co-respondents convicted drug lord Peter Co, Lovely Impal and Ruel Malindanga, were indicted for three separate counts of violation of R.A. 9165 before the regional trial courts of Manila and Makati cities, according to Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon.
The information was filed following the finding of a probable cause by a panel of prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera who has been tasked to reinvestigate the case.
The case earlier stirred controversy after it was dismissed by a panel of prosecutors which previously handled the case due to lack of evidence and supposed inconsistencies in the testimony of Espinosa’s aide Marcelo Adorco, accused-turned witness, in the complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
Amid mounting criticisms, then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II was forced to vacate his post after setting aside the dismissal and ordered a reinvestigation of the case by a new panel.
In a resolution released last week, Navera’s panel held that the testimonies of Adorco, who identified Espinosa, Co, Impal and Malindagan as his cohorts, were sufficient to establish probable cause against the accused.
It, however, dismissed the case against the other respondents in the case namely Max Miro, Nestor “Jun” Pepito and Rowen Reyes Secretaria due to their recent deaths.
In his testimony, Adorco claimed Lim had supplied narcotics in “staggering amounts” to Espinosa for more than two years.
He said one such transaction involved the delivery of 50 kilos of shabu, which Lim personally handed to Espinosa at the parking lot of Cash & Carry Supermarket in Makati City on June 7, 2015.
The panel also took into consideration the confession of respondent Kerwin Espinosa that he trafficked drugs during the relevant periods in Region 7.
Meanwhile, the DOJ has yet to resolve the drug charges involving Cebu businessman Peter Lim, one of Espinosa’s co-accused, after the panel granted his plea for a separate preliminary investigation.