Briones: Ha?

I’M still dumbstruck by the justice department task force’s resolution to drop criminal complaints against Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim and Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr.

Okay, maybe not so in the case of the former since the allegations against Lim were tantamount to hearsay, considering authorities have yet to produce concrete evidence that Lim is or was ever involved in the illegal drug trade.

But for Kerwin, heck, the guy already admitted that he is a drug lord.

Not only that, his own father Rolando Sr., the late Albuera, Leyte mayor, was killed inside the Baybay provincial jail in November 2016 while being served a search warrant by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 8. The elder Espinosa had been arrested a month before for alleged drug possession. He, like his son, was linked to the drug trade by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Aside from that, Kerwin’s lawyer, Jonnah John Ungab was shot in broad daylight after leaving the Cebu City Palace of Justice last month. He had accompanied Kerwin for the promulgation of the latter’s cases.

In August 2016, Rogelio Bato Jr., another lawyer for the family, was ambushed and killed in Tacloban City, Leyte.

Let’s put it this way, if they have any counsel left, they’re probably preparing to tender their resignations and I’m sure no one is rushing to fill their places.

Then last Saturday night, Max Miro, Kerwin’s alleged right hand, was shot several times after he allegedly resisted arrest in Ormoc City, Leyte. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

The police officer who started it all, so to speak, could only express dismay over the recent development.

Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, then head of Albuera police now Ozamiz City police director, was also perplexed by what happened to the case the CIDG filed against Kerwin.

“I really don’t know the reason why yung CIDG nag-file, na ang kinahatnan ay na-dismiss lang (CIDG filed the case only to have it dismissed),” Espenido said in a Philippine Inquirer interview.

According to police protocol, he said, concrete evidence must be gathered before filing a case against someone.

At any rate, it’s good to know that I am not alone in my bewilderment.

Here on our shores, Carmen Remedios Durano-Meca, head of the Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office, was also baffled by the dismissal of the cases, and expressed her disappointment that big-time drug suspects are able to evade prosecution while low-level drug suspects are dropping like flies.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, for his part, said he is no longer surprised by the development.

I’m inclined to agree.
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