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Friday, October 19, 2018

Lim, Espinosa indicted for conspiracy to trade drugs

A CRIMINAL charge for conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading will be filed against Cebuano businessman Peter Go Lim, alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and two others before the Makati Regional Trial Court.

A statement issued by the Office of the General Prosecutor on Friday, Aug. 10, identified Lim as “aka Jaguar.” Others facing charges are Marcelo Adorco and Ruel Malindangan.

The new panel of government prosecutors tasked to reinvestigate the drug-related complaint against Lim and the others released its resolution indicting Lim and the others on Friday.

The panel said it based Lim’s indictment on the previous testimonies of Espinosa and state witness Marcelo Adorco during a Senate inquiry.

“The panel... finds the admission of respondent Espinosa during the legislative investigation of the Senate committees on justice and public order, together with Marcelo Adorco’s positive identification of Peter Go Lim as one of Kerwin’s suppliers of dangerous drugs” as enough basis to proceed, the prosecutors said.

Enough to go on

“(It) is sufficient to establish probable cause to charge them with conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading. The panel reiterates that conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading is a distinct offense under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and that the agreement to trade in drugs is the gravamen of the offense,” they added.

The panel is composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutors Juan Pedro Navera and Anna Noreen Devanadera, and Prosecution Attorney Herbert Calvin Abugan.

The statement said that the denial of Lim that he is not Jaguar is immaterial.

In a preliminary investigation last August 2017, Lim told the justice department that he was not Jaguar and that Adorco’s statements against him were not credible. He also appealed to authorities to check his passport, which would show that he didn’t travel to Thailand in 2014 or in June 2015, whatever Adorco may have alleged.

More than year before that, in June 2016, police also reported that alleged drug lor Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz was shot and killed in Las Piñas City.

The latest prosecutor’s statement, however, said that Lim’s alibi, “that he could not have possibly been in Thailand during the time attested by Adorco has to yield to the positive and affirmative statements of the witness.”

Change of mind

The panel found probable cause to charge them for violation of Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5, Article 11 of Republic Act 9165 or Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The panel said that conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading is a distinct offense against the law.

In December 2017, a different panel of prosecutors cleared Lim, Espinosa and the others of drug charges, sparking public outrage and the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte.

This prompted then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to overturn the resolution in March 2018 and form a new panel to review the case.

Lim was named by President Rodrigo Duterte early in his term as one of the country’s biggest drug lords.

Espinosa then tagged Lim as a top drug supplier in Visayas during a Senate hearing in 2016.

Adorco, in his affidavit, affirmed there was a conspiracy between Espinosa and Lim.

A separate resolution dated July 19, 2018 also found probable cause to charge Espinosa, Peter Co, Adorco, Lovely Impal, and Ruel Malindangan with the same violation. Ruth Abbey Gita, SunStar Philippines


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