By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday apologized to the prosecutors whom he ordered investigated for having dismissed the drug complaint against businessman and alleged drug lord Peter Lim and his co-respondents.
“I again apologize to the prosecutors for causing the investigation because extraordinary crimes or extraordinary incidents called for extraordinary measures,” Aguirre said during the flag-raising ceremony at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The secretary made the apology after he ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the panel of prosecutors which dismissed the complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s Major Crimes Investigation Unit (PNP-CIDG-MCIU) against the respondents.
The DOJ resolution which dismissed the complaint was signed by Assistant State Prosecutor Michael John Humarang and former Assistant State Prosecutor and now Lucena City Judge Aristotle Reyes. The resolution also had the approving signatures of Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr. and Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rassendell Rex Gingoyon.
Aguirre recounted that he has been approached by the prosecutors who expressed concerns that every time they will handle a drug case they would be investigated.
“Para lang maipakita natin sa lahat ng kinauukulan, sa ating mga kababayan na wala tayong tinatago dito (We wanted to show the authorities and our countrymen that we have nothing to hide) 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.
“Pasensya na po kayo sapagkat yun ay ginawa ko lamang alang alang para protektahan kayo, ang ating DOJ. Hindi lamang para protektahan ko ang Office of the Secretary (I apologize because what I did was to protect you, the DOJ. Not only the Office of the Secretary),” he added.
The secretary pointed out the issue got blown out of proportion due to the uproar from the ignorant.
Aguirre said even President Duterte got angry and had to receive an explanation of what actually happened.
“Sabi ko nga I apologize Mr. President for the great outrage na nangyari dito because of premature disclosure. At ipinaliwanag ko ang workings ng DOJ (I apologized to the President about the outrage caused by the premature disclosure. I explained to him the workings at the DOJ),” said Aguirre.
The complaint filed by the PNP accused the respondents of allegedly violating Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5 (Sale, Trading, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals) of Republic Act 9165, also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Aside from Lim, those who have been named as respondents in the complaint are self-confessed drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co, arrested alleged drug supplier Lovely Impal, arrested alleged drug dealer Marcelo Adorco, Max Miro, Ruel Malindangan, Jun Pepito, and several others who are only known through the aliases Amang, Ricky, Warren, Tupie, Jojo, Jaime, Yawa, Lapi, Royroy, Marlon, and Bay.
The PNP based its complaint on the sworn statements issued by Adorco who was arrested on July 8, 2016 during a drug buy-bust operation in Albuera, Leyte.
However, the panel of prosecutors and even Aguirre found the evidence presented by the PNP weak.