Sunday, August 25, 2019

Bzzzzz: Prosecutor in Lim case now a judge

MAYBE NOT FOR CONTROVERSIES. Aristotle Reyes, a member of the Department of Justice (DOJ) panel that last December cleared Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa and 20 others on charges of drug trafficking, is now a judge.

Last November, Reyes was also a member of the DOJ panel that cleared former Customs collector Nicolas Faeldon of any part in the P6.4 billion shabu smuggling via the Bureau of Customs express lane.

Rewarded for his good work in clearing two controversial respondents?

Maybe not. His appointment as judge was issued on Sept. 21, 2017 yet, before he ruled on the two controversial cases, although he assumed as RTC judge of Lucena only last Feb. 2.

Skeptics though have word for it: foresight. He already knew when he handled those cases that he was already going to be a judge.

The investigation ordered by DOJ chief Vitaliano Aguirre III may not find any smoking gun. Prosecutors cannot be blamed if the evidence submitted was weak.


CAN’T BE BLAMED? Former prosecutor now Judge Reyes said prosecutors cannot take sides in the investigation. If the evidence is weak, they can’t tell the police to give more evidence? That would be “lawyering,” Reyes said. But who advises, or works with the police, the police then on building a case on the charge they file?

The prosecutors can’t be blamed, Reyes said. How about the police who don’t have the training and experience of prosecutors?

Two gaping holes in the prosecution process are exposed in the Lim-Espinosa fiasco.

‘Where’s he?’

Erin Taada, Liberal Party vice president for external affairs, asked Thursday “where did the strong, fierce” President Rodrigo Duterte go? Taada referred to Duterte’s pulling out of the Rome Statute instead of facing the International Criminal Court.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque answered that with the statement that the President would send the marines and “blow up” the illegal structures in Boracay.

Not to Taada’s point but it was some muscle-flexing to help repel the image of a weak president although one would doubt if a court would sanction that without hearing the property owners first.

Win for Kerwin

Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s quip on the DOJ clearance given to self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa: “Win for Kerwin.”


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