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Duterte to review DoJ’s dismissal of charges vs. alleged drug lords

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President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in his speech during the meeting with local chief executives from Luzon at the Royce Hotel in Clark, Pampanga on March 7, 2018, reiterates his strong stance against corruption and illegal drugs. — ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

By Arjay L. Balinbin

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday, March 13, said he will personally review the Justice department’s dismissal of the drug charges against alleged drug lord Peter Go Lim, confessed drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa, and convicted drug lord Peter Co.

“I will invoke my power of supervision and control and will review (the) dismissal,” Mr. Duterte said during the command conference of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) at Malacañang on Tuesday night.

In a social media post, Presidential Spokesperson Herminio Harry L. Roque, Jr. said the “PNP will move to reconsider dismissal of charges against the said drug personalities.”

According to the spokesman, Mr. Duterte told Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II: “Pag- nakawala yan si Lim at Espinosa, sya ang ipapalit ko (If Lim and Espinosa get away [with their crimes], he [Mr. Aguirre] will replace them.)”

“I can review that dismissal order. Nag-amin na nga sa (He [Mr. Espinosa] already admitted in) Congress! Why not admit it as evidence against him?” he added.

Mr. Aguirre for his part, according to Mr. Roque, “formed a new investigation panel” to review the dismissed charges filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Last Monday, March 12, BusinessWorld reported that the DoJ has cleared Messrs. Lim, Espinosa, Co, and more than 20 others from drug-trafficking charges in a resolution dated Dec. 20, 2017.

Also on Tuesday night, Mr. Aguirre issued a Department Order (DO) directing the National Bureau of Investigation to (NBI) to investigate the prosecutors who dismissed the resolution, following Malacañang’s remarks on the decision.