Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said self-confessed drug trafficker Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa may be tapped as a witness against alleged drug lord Peter Lim and the other respondents in the criminal case filed by the Philippine National Police.
Aguirre said Espinosa can be discharged from the case to become a government witness in the case. The complaint filed by the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group tagged Lim as the alleged supplier of illegal drugs to Espinosa’s group.
“The inclusion of Kerwin Espinosa in the criminal case, in the drug offense, can be discharged before the actual trial or even during the trial of the case. It is procedural in nature that he should be charged first and be discharged later as a state witness,” Aguirre said.
The prosecutors handling the case will decide after reviewing and evaluating the evidence, Aguirre said.
Espinosa, Lim, Marcelo Adorco, Peter Co, Jun Pepito, Max Miro, Rupel Malindanangan and Lovely Impal have been summoned by the DOJ to attend the preliminary probe on August 14.
In the PNP-CIDG’s complaint, it said Lim and the others should be charged for violation of Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5 of Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2000.
The offense involved conspiracy to commit “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals.”
“(Their) criminal conspiracy was continuously existing (and appears to have been consummated) in various places of Makati City to Regions 7 and 8 from February 2013 up to August 2015 at the very least,” a portion of the complaint read.
Adorco and four others were arrested during a sting operation in Albuera, Leyte, on July 8, 2016. Adorco identified Espinosa and his father, slain Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., as the source of illegal drugs and firearms seized from them.
Lim, Co and Impal were also alleged as among those who supplied illegal drugs to Espinosa’s operations in Central and Eastern Visayas.