Prosecutors not obligated to listen to Senate hearings: Aguirre


Posted at Mar 14 2018 01:41 PM

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Prosecutors are not obligated to listen in on the Senate hearings on suspected drug personalities including self-confessed drug boss Kerwin Espinosa, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said Wednesday.

Speaking to DZMM, Aguirre blamed the CIDG for failing to include Espinosa's admission of his drug links in the complaint.

"Hindi naman obligasyon nitong ating panel of prosecutors na makinig sa Senate hearing. And even if nakinig nila iyan, hindi naman nila puwede i-consider iyan without anybody, without the parties lifting it for their consideration," he told DZMM.

(It is not the obligation of our panel of prosecutors to listen to the Senate hearing. And even if they monitored it, they cannot consider that without anybody, without the parties lifting it for their consideration.)

A panel from the justice department's National Prosecutors Service had dismissed the drug trafficking charges against Espinosa, his alleged cohorts Peter Lim and Peter Co and 19 others due to insufficient evidence.

The case filed by the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) had cited the affidavit of Espinosa's professed bodyguard Marcelo Adorco, who detailed the drug transactions of his boss.

The CIDG did not use Espinosa's statement because he refused to corroborate it during the preliminary investigation, said unit chief Director Roel Obusan.

President Rodrigo Duterte had admonished Aguirre over the state prosecutors’ decision to clear Espinosa and his co-accused of drug charges, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said.

Aguirre said he has explained to Duterte that under the NPS Law, he cannot interfere with prosecutors' decision on a case unless it is elevated to the Department of Justice for review.

The NPS Law had not yet taken effect when Duterte was still prosecutor of Davao City, Aguirre noted.

"Kaya po halimbawa mag-issue ng resolution ang taga-Mindanao, kailanman hindi ko malalaman iyan unless it is elevated to us for any petition for review," he said.

(That is why for example, a resolution was issued in Mindanao, I would not know about that unless it is elevated to us for any petition for review.)

"Ipinaliwanag ko po iyan sa ating Pangulo at nakita naman po niya iyung puntos na -- sapagkat iyan ay dating prosecutor -- na hindi ka maaaring mag-consider ng isang ebidensya na hindi naman sina-submit sa iyo," he added.

(I explained that to the President and he understood my point -- because he was a former prosecutor -- that you cannot consider an evidence that was not submitted to you.)

DZMM, 14 March 2018