By Aaron Recuenco
The police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) admitted Wednesday that it relied heavily on the testimony of one witness in filing a case against Kerwin Espinosa and two other alleged drug lords.
Despite the inconsistencies on the testimony of Marcelo Adorco especially on the dates of the supposed drug transactions, CIDG chief Director Roel Obusan cited past jurisprudences wherein the Supreme Court ruled in favor of witnesses with inconsistent testimonies as a reason why they did not bother to find reinforcing testimony of their main witness.
“Those transactions happened years past. You will have difficulty determining the exact time and date but places are easy to remember and those were directly cited by Adorco,” said Obusan in a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
“But on the complaint we filed, everything is already there and what was just established here is probable cause. That is well-grounded belief that a crime has been committed and directly it is stated in other jurisprudence and it is up to the court to expound more on what really happened,” he added.
Based on the decision junking the drug case filed against Espinosa and others, the case was dismissed due to the inconsistencies in the testimony of Adorco that made him not a credible witness and that the CIDG failed to establish evidence of the supposed drug transactions.
Obusan, however, argued that the case they filed could already stand alone in court since their main and only witness was a direct participant in the drug transactions.
Adorco used to be the driver and bodyguard of Espinosa. He was arrested and agreed to be a state witness.
The decision caused uproar in the social media and even lawmakers find it impossible that the case was dismissed since Espinosa himself admitted in the Senate hearing that he bought and sold illegal drugs.
Why Senate Testimony Not Included
Obusan explained that during their case build-up, they were confident that Espinosa would cooperate with them and corroborate the testimony of Adorco.
The expectations include that Kerwin would repeat his testimony during the Senate inquiry regarding is drug transactions with his other co-accused in the case.
“My expectation before, that was September, October or August that if he is called and in fact he was indeed called, he would talk. To my dismay, Kerwin did no talk,” said Obusan.
Not only Kerwin did not cooperate with the CIDG to corroborate the testimony of Adorco but he also retracted his statement of is alleged drug transactions during the Preliminary Investigation.
It was recalled that Kerwin’s father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, was killed in the operation of CIDG operatives inside the Leyte Provincial Jail in 2016.
This made the need for the inclusion of Kerwin’s Senate admission immaterial since the CIDG, according to Obusan, sees Kerwin as a hostile witness on the case they filed.
But on Wednesday’s briefing, Obusan said they will include the Senate testimony of Kerwin.
The Unanswered Letter
As a result of Kerwin’s non-cooperation, Obusan said they immediately sent a letter to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre asking the latter to strip Espinosa of being under the Witness Protection Program.
The letter was sent to Aguirre in September last year but remain unanswered as of Wednesday.
Asked if Aguirre had received the letter, Obusan said the CIDG copy has a received stamp which indicates that the former’s office received he copy.
Espinosa is reportedly still under the Witness Protection Program of the DoJ.
The case against Espinosa and two other alleged drug lords were dismissed on December 20 last year but Obusan said they only learned about the dismissal on February 7 this year.
“We filed a Motion for Reconsideration on February 20. We are thankful that this case will be looked into again with the creation of a new panel,” said Obusan.
Asked if it is normal, based on the experience of the CIDG, of such more than a month of delay in receiving the information that the case was dismissed, Obusan would not comment.
But he said he does not look into the time frame of the delay but on the action they took to pursue the case.