In a 41-paged resolution dated December 20, but released only on Monday, state prosecutors dismissed the complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group filed against Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa and others.

Edd Gumban/The STAR
'Fake drug war': Senators slam dismissal of raps vs Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim
Kristine Joy Patag ( - March 13, 2018 - 12:16pm
MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Tuesday slammed the Department of Justice for the exoneration of alleged big-time drug lords, including self-confessed drug trader Kerwin Espinosa.
The DOJ, in a resolution dated Dec. 20, 2017, dropped the drug raps filed by the Philippine National Police against Espinosa, Cebu businessman and the "kumpare of President Duterte" Peter Lim, Lovely Impal and several others due to weak evidence.
Lim was tagged by a witness as the supplier of drugs to Espinosa, who earlier admitted to involvement in the drug trade in the Visaya.

Fake drug war?

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of the most vocal critics of Duterte, slammed the administration for unleashing a "fake drug war."
"If one is poor, no more questions are asked, you get killed immediately. If you are a drug lord and a 'kumpare' of Duterte, there is due process, absolved from the case, even," Trillanes added.
In a statement, Sen. Bam Aquino also scored the DOJ resolution and questioned the administration's war on drugs.  
"What is the significance of the thousands of our countrymen killed in the drug war, if those who start the drug trade run free?" Aquino said in a statement in Filipino.
"With the release of arrested drug lords, it is clear that the Oplan Tokhang is just for the poor and not for the rich and who has connections. Justice for the nation is only for the select few, and not for every Filipino," Aquino added.
Duterte was catapulted to the presidency with a promise to ruthlessly rid the country of illegal drugs and criminality. Both government and human rights group tallied the deaths under the drug war to thousands.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, in a text message to, lamented that the DOJ resolution "is a blow to government credibility in its anti-drug operations/program."
"More so Peter Lim was identified by the president as a big fish and Espinosa admitting in open session of his drug dealings," Recto added.
The names of Lim and Espinosa were part of the list of suspected drug personalities released by the Duterte administration.
The resolution also baffled Sen. Grace Poe who raised that Espinosa, who has confessed before the Senate to drug trading, was exonerated.
"It reflects the sloppiness of the police's investigation and case buildup against these drug lords," she said in a statement.
When the prosecutors found sole witness Marcus Adorco's testimonies as lacking and inconsistent, Poe said that it should have "prompted them to use the entire machinery of the State's prosecution arm to gather more testimonial and... evidence, rather than [rely] on this single witness."
"Are the prosecutors really looking for evidence?" Poe added.
"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," Poe also said.

Decision up for Aguirre's review

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, for his part, stressed that the case is still due for a review by the office of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
"The same may still be reversed," he said. 
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, in a text message, refrained from giving a comment other than saying that there is a need to get an explanation from the DOJ.
"It really depends on the details and facts involved in the case," Pimentel added.

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