MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicted Peter Go Lim before the Makati City Regional Trial Court for conspiracy with self-confessed drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa, and two others to commit illegal drug trading.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) against Lim, Espinosa, Marcelo Adorco, and Ruel Malindangan, where Lim was identified as the source of ‘shabu’ sold by the ‘Espinosa group in Regions 7 and 8 in 2013 and 2014.
“The admission of respondent Espinosa during the legislative investigation of the Senate Committees on Justice and Public Order, together with Marcelo Adorco’s positive identification of Peter Go Lim as one of Kerwin’s suppliers of dangerous drugs, is sufficient to establish probable cause to charge them with conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading,” the DOJ said.
President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier identified Lim as big time druglord alias "Jaguar."
Lim denied that he is the "Jaguar" Duterte was speaking of, but the DOJ said this issue is “immaterial” because he was “positively identified by both Espinosa and Adorco.
“The [DOJ investigating panel] reiterates that conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading is a distinct offense under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and that the agreement to trade in drugs is the gravamen (most serious part) of the offense.”
Lim and Espinosa had insisted that the case against them must be junked because the PNP-CIDG failed to present any ‘shabu’ evidence, but the DOJ explained that “the drugs themselves as corpus delicti (concrete evidence) of drug trading are not essential under Section 26 (b) of the law.”
Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon and Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera told reporters the DOJ is confident its findings will be upheld by the Court of Appeals (CA), in the event Lim, Espinosa and their co-accused challenge their indictments.
Fadullon and Navera stressed the DOJ gave Lim ample opportunity to present their defense during the second preliminary investigation of the complaint.
Before the appellate court, Lim questioned the second probe, arguing that the first complaint has already been dismissed. The CA case is still pending; no halt order was issued against the DOJ.
The preliminary probe was continued and the findings of the first panel set aside after the dismissal earned the ire of Malacañang, several lawmakers, and anti-drug advocates.
The DOJ stressed that the findings of the second panel was grounded on new evidence presented by the Office of the Solicitor General, which lawyered for the PNP-CIDG in the reopening of the case.
Espinosa was earlier indicted, also in Makati City, for the same offense. That case involved his alleged drug transactions with alleged drug suppliers Lovely Impal and Peter Co, a convicted drug lord serving time at the New Bilibid Prison.