Pres. Duterte receives Cebu businessman Peter Lim, whom he tagged as a drug lord, in Malacañang in 2016. Malacañang photo.

The Department of Justice panel has junked drug trafficking charges against suspected drug lords Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa and severalothers.


I share Sen. Grace Poe’s feeling of distress. In a statement, Poe said: “I am disturbed by the basis upon which the DOJ panel made its recommendation to dismiss the drug charges against Mr. Espinosa and others. For one, Kerwin Espinosa, himself admitted before a Senate inquiry that he was indeed involved in the drug trade.

“How a self-confessed drug lord like Kerwin Espinosa can be exonerated by the State, is perplexing. It reflects the sloppiness of the police’s investigation and case build up against these drug lords. “

I share Poe’s feeling of being insulted by the DOJ’s basis for the dismissal of charges which was lack of evidence. “Acting Prosecutor General Catalan claims that Adorvo's statements are self-serving and contradictory; this should have prompted them to use the entire machinery of the State's prosecution arm to gather more testimonial and object evidence, rather than lazily relying on this single witness. Naghanap ba talaga ng ebidensya ang prosekyusyon (Did the prosecution really look for evidence)?”

“If this DOJ decision is affirmed by the Secretary of Justice, this would be an insult to the brave policemen who have died in legitimate anti-drug operations,” the lady senator further said.

I share the outrage of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IVwho said, “The DOJ's exoneration of these known drug lords is yet another proof that what Duterte unleashed upon us is a fake drug war.

“ Kapag mahirap, walang tanong-tanong, patay agad. Kapag druglords at kumpare pa ni Duterte, may due process na, abswelto pa sa kaso. Kapag kay Sen. De lima, na kalaban sa pulitika, kahit nagka buhol buhol na ang mga scripted na testimonya, sampa agad sa korte para makulong. Mr. Duterte, pinaglololoko mo ang taong bayan. (With the poor, no more questions, They just get killed. If it involves druglords and fellow godfather of Duterte, due process is observed, and charges are dismissed. If against De Lima, never mind if the scripted testimony is inconsistent, case is filed right away so that accused is put in jail. Mr. Duterte, you are taking the Filipino people for a ride.)”

I find the message posted by former Solicitor GeneralFlorin Hilbay most sensible:“The DOJ cleared the following: Peter Lim, identified by the President as a drug lord; Kerwin Espinosa, self-confessed drug lord; Peter Co, convicted drug lord.

“And yet Leila de Lima is still in jail for ‘conspiracy’ to trade in drugs.

“This is what you expect from a Fake war on drugs.”

Suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa at the Senate hearing. Photo from ABS-CBN.

Common sense:Kerwin Espinosa who claimed to have given P8 million from drug money as contribution to Sen.De Lima’s election campaign is innocent, what’s the crime of De Lima?

But then the dismissal of cases against the two and their associates should not really surprise us. The fact that Espinosa testified against De Lima, it was expected that the Duterte government will reward him for it.

In the first place, was Kerwin in a position not to obey Duterte’s wishes?His father , Albuera town Mayor Rolando Espinosa ,was killed in jail in the most unbelievable script ever concocted. The mastermind of the operation was promoted.

Can Kerwin now feel safe that he has been exonerated by the DOJ? Good luck!

As to Peter Lim, whom Duterte himself identified in a TV interview early in his presidency as the “Jaguar” and a leader of the Triad, an international drug syndicate, it has turned out that we were treated to a show. Yes, it was all for a show.

Remember that Lim was granted a special audience to the President in Malacanang where the tough-talking chief executive refused to shake his hands and vowsed:. “I will execute you … I will finish you off.”

In that meeting, Duterte toldLim, who was in the country’s drug syndicate list since 2006, he was willing to help him if indeed he was innocent as he claimed to be: “We want to help you. Help us clear you.”

The Cebu businessman was profuse in his praises of the President who exposed him as a bigtime drug lord. He said: “Our nation is very lucky to have you, because without you, I don’t know. You’re the only President who could save our nation.”

It worked.

Wala akong masabi.


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