By Jeffrey Damicog
A new panel of prosecutors is set to start its preliminary investigation on the drug complaint filed against suspected drug lord Peter Lim and his co-respondents this April.
The new panel will conduct its first hearing on April 12 at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and has issued subpoenas to all respondents to require them to attend.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has formed the new panel of prosecutors which is composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, Assistant State Prosecutor Anna Norren Devanadera, and Prosecution Attorney Herbert Calvin Abugan.
Aguirre made the move after being criticized for the dismissal of the drug complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s Major Crimes Investigation Unity (PNP-CIDG-MCIU). A panel of prosecutors of the DOJ issued the December 20, 2017 resolution which dismissed the drug complaint.
In his order dated March 19, Aguirre said “the Resolution dated December 20, 2017 dismissing this instant case be vacated and the above-mentioned case be remanded to a new panel of prosecutors for purposes of conducting the continuation of the preliminary investigation/clarificatory hearing and to allow the complainant and respondents to submit additional pieces of evidence in support of their respective positions.”
In his order, the secretary indicated that he gave the directive pursuant to his powers provided under Republic Act 10071 (Prosecution Service Act of 2010) in relation to DOJ Department Circular No. 004 dated January 4, 2017 regarding automatic review of criminal complaints.
Under the complaint, Lim and his co-respondents are accused of 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.
Apart 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, 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. Adorco has worked for Espinosa.
However, the panel of prosecutors which dismissed the case ruled that “his testimonies are rife with inconsistencies and contradictions, and run against the standards of human experience and the logical course of reality.”