The junking of drug charges against drug suspects Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Lim is a "slight bump on the war against drugs," Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Tuesday.
On Monday, the Department of Justice made public a document that showed that Espinosa, Lim and 20 others were cleared of drug cases due to "lack of evidence."
This, despite Espinosa's statement in a Senate hearing that he was earning up to P50 million yearly in the illegal drug trade in the Visayas.
Lim was a businessman who was included in President Rodrigo Duterte's narcolist for allegedly masterminding the drug trade in Central Visayas.
"The dismissal is a slight bump on our war against drugs. It is likewise a wake up to all concerned that our efforts, from apprehension to resolution to conviction, must be concerted and thorough," Aguirre said in a statement.
Aguirre said the case is expected to be reviewed either through a "a motion for reconsideration, or ultimately, by way of automatic review" of his office.
"Suffice it to say that the current status of the case against the respondents Peter Lim et al., does not mean that it is a final exoneration of their respective criminal liabilities," he said.
The Philippine National Police, in a motion for reconsideration filed on February 22, had asked the DOJ to reverse the dismissal of charges against Lim, Espinosa, and several others.
Aguirre said the Justice department "will refrain from making unnecessary comment on this particular case" while the review of the decision has yet to be finalized.