Lawmakers hit dropping of charges vs confessed drug lord Espinosa

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2018 05:55 PM

MANILA - Several lawmakers on Tuesday raised questions on the Department of Justice's (DOJ) resolution to drop drug charges against confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.

Liberal Party President Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan questioned Espinosa's credibility in testifying against his fellow opposition lawmaker Sen. Leila de Lima after charges against the confessed drug lord were dropped for "lack of evidence."

"Siya (Kerwin Espinosa) rin nagdidiin kay Sen. De Lima. Siya ang ginamit ng ilang mga testigo dito sa hearing tapos ngayon pinawalang sala siya. Talagang kaduda-duda ngayon itong kredibilidad ng testigong ito laban kay Sen. De Lima," Pangilinan said.

Espinosa was among those who testified about supposedly giving drug money to De Lima, along with high-profile convicts. De Lima, a vocal administration critic currently detained on drug allegations, has hit cases against her as political persecution. 

"'Pag kalaban iniipit, 'pag malapit at malakas ay inaabswelto. Hindi ito tama," Pangilinan added.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, another staunch administration critic, meanwhile said the clearing of drug charges against Espinosa and several others is proof of the Duterte administration's "fake drug war."

"Kapag drug lords at kumpare pa ni Duterte, may due process na, abswelto pa sa kaso," he said.

"Kapag kay Sen. De Lima na kalaban sa pulitika, kahit nagkabuhol-buhol na ang mga scripted na testimonya, sampa agad sa korte para makulong," he added.

Some members of the House of Representatives, meanwhile, called for De Lima's release.

"In a parallel vein, if they can put a sitting senator in jail allegedly because of alleged links to drug lords, if evidence is insufficient against the drug lords, then [there's a] high probability that the charges against Sen. De Lima should be likewise dismissed," Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said.

"The policy of the Duterte administration is liberate drug lords and liquidate small fry," Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said.

Justice Secretary Vitalinao Aguirre on Tuesday said the junking of drug charges against Espinosa and other drug convicts is expected to be reviewed either through a "motion for reconsideration or ultimately, by way of automatic review" of his office.

- with reports from RG Cruz and Christian Esguerra, ABS-CBN News