Hilbay: Drug war only for Duterte admin foes
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay slammed the Department of Justice for dropping drug raps against "friends" of the administration,  Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa, while indicting Sen. Leila de Lima, deemed as "foe" of the Duterte government.
PCA released

Hilbay: Drug war only for Duterte admin foes

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - March 13, 2018 - 1:55pm

MANILA, Philippines — Florin Hilbay, former solicitor general and counsel of detained Sen. Leila de Lima, slammed the Department of Justice for dropping drug raps against alleged big time drug lords.

In a text message to reporters, Hilbay said that the case of Kewrin Espinosa and Peter Lim should be "taken in the context of De Lima" who is the staunchest critic of President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Friends, allies, useful witnesses are exonerated, while political dissents are incarcerated on bogus charges," Hilbay said.

In a resolution dated Dec. 20, 2017, state prosecutors dismissed the drug raps filed by the police against Espinosa, a confessed drug dealer; Lim, a "kumpare" of Duterte; Peter Co, a high-profile inmate, Lovely Impal, and others.

"The DOJ's action simply highlights the political nature of this administration's so-called war on drugs," Hilbay also said, adding: "Peter Lim was identified by the president himself as drug lord, Espinosa is a confessed drug lord and Peter Co is a convicted drug lord."

Senators on Tuesday also slammed the "fake war on drugs" launched by the Duterte administration.

READ: 'Fake drug war': Senators slam dismissal of raps vs Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim

Same defense used by De Lima

Hilbay also pointed out that: "The DOJ was able to use basic requirements of corpus delicti (facts and circumstances) and the need for credible witnesses in their case, matters that were conveniently dropped by the DOJ in Sen. De Lima's case."

The former solicitor general serves as De Lima's counsel for her petition challenging the legality of her arrest currently pending before the Supreme Court.

The SC in October 2017, upheld the constitutionality of De Lima's arrest, but Hilbay appealed the decision in November. The SC has yet to act on their motion for reconsideration.

For their defense, Hilbay said that the DOJ failed to specify the transactions where De Lima allegedly had a hand, and which and how many drugs were allegedly traded.

In junking the PNP's complaint, the state prosecutors said that the PNP relied on the testimonies of their sole witness, Marcus Adorco.

The DOJ said that the inconsistencies in Adorco's affidavits—that include dates and place of meeting with drug suppler, timeline of drug transactions, volume of drugs involved—are "material matters" of the case.

Hilbay said: "The amendment of the charges, the use of disqualified witnesses, dispensing with the need for evidence—these are all signs of political persecution in the case of De Lima."

The senator has been detained at Camp Crame since February 2017. She is facing three separate charges of drug trading—later amended by the DOJ to conspiracy in drug trading—before the Muntinlupa trial courts.

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