ONE OF the two prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DoJ) who dismissed the drug-trafficking charges against three high-profile personalities and more than 20 others has defended the decision saying there was no strong evidence to back up the case.

Assistant State Prosecutor Aristotle M. Reyes of the DoJ’s National Prosecution Service (NPS) on Thursday told reporters that “wala talagang matibay na evidence na pwede pag basihan the moment i-file namin sa court ang case (there was really no strong evidence that we can use as a basis the moment we file it in court).”

The charges, based mainly on co-conspirator Marcelo L. Adorco’s three affidavits, involve businessman Peter Go Lim, self-confessed drug distributor Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co, and more than 20 other suspects linked to the illegal drug trade.

“We found material inconsistencies affecting the fact in issue,” Mr. Reyes said.

“Most of the material allegations pertaining to the drug deal, wala siyang (Mr. Adorco has no) personal knowledge,” he added, noting that the witness gave testimony based on telephone conversations he supposedly heard.

Mr. Reyes also pointed out that they cannot use Mr. Adorco’s confession since no one corroborated it.

“Kailangan suriin ng husto kung credible ba statement niya. Kung ’di credible statement and self-confessed conspirator ’yan hindi admissible as evidence (We have to verify the credibility of his statements. If they are not credible and they are from a self-confessed conspirator, they are not admissible as evidence).”

The Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) had charged the respondents with violation of Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

When asked why the case was still dismissed despite Mr. Espinosa confessing his crimes under oath in the Senate, Mr. Reyes said the CIDG did not present that testimony as evidence.

“The problem is, CIDG did not present it,” Mr. Reyes said, stressing that they, as prosecutors, cannot tell complainants like the police to strengthen their cases or else they “would be lawyering for one of the parties.”

He did not comment on the CIDG’s motion for reconsideration submitted last Feb. 15 that asked the DoJ to reverse the dismissal.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II on Wednesday, March 14, issued Department Order 152, which authorized the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a probe on Mr. Reyes and fellow Assistant State Prosecutor Michael M. Humarang for possible malfeasance following public outcry and a direct order from President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Mr. Humarang told reporters he “welcomes the reinvestigation of the case” and that they “stand ready to face the probe.”

“Malinis ang aming konsensya (Our consciences are clear),” he added.

Mr. Reyes, on the other hand, expressed dismay over the public’s reactions on the resolution, saying, “hindi pa naman kasi tapos ’yung case (the case is still not finished.” — Dane Angelo M. Enerio