MANILA - The law enforcement body that filed drug charges against Kerwin Espinosa and other suspected drug personalities did not use Espinosa's admission that he is a drug lord because the latter refused to cooperate with authorities.
In a press conference, Director Roel Obusan confirmed the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group did not include in the complaint Espinosa's testimony in a Senate hearing where he confessed to his participation in the illegal drug trade in Visayas. Espinosa earlier told senators he was earning P50 million yearly in the illegal drug trade while giving away P20 million in protection money to individuals linked to his illegal drug network.
"Ang expectation ko noon pagkatinawag na siya—when in truth and in fact ay tinawag siya—ay magsasalita siya. To my dismay, si Kerwin hindi nagsalita," said Obusan, adding that he communicated this to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II in September 2017.
Instead, Obusan said the CIDG used the testimony of Espinosa's driver who admitted making deliveries for the self-confessed drug lord.
"Itong kanyang driver na si (Marcelo) Adorco may direct participation sa paglaganap ng droga. 'Yung direct participation na 'yun it's no longer hearsay. It does not need any corroboration because that is a direct participation from a person directly involved sa paggawa ng kasalanan," he told reporters.
"Bakit sweeping 'yung pagka-dismiss ng lahat? 'Yung kay Kerwin Espinosa, hindi ba papasok? Samantalang si Kerwin Espinosa, bodyguard niya mismo 'yung nagsasalitang nag-uutos sa kanya? Sweeping na lahat madi-dismiss. That is impossible," he added.
Aguirre earlier blamed the CIDG for the scrapping of charges against Espinosa and 21 others, saying Kerwin's confession was not even included in the complaint.
"'Yun pong sinasabi nilang admission ni Kerwin sa Senado, wala pong nag-file niyan. Hindi po iyan isinubmit bilang ebidensya dito sa kaso," the justice chief said in a radio DZMM interview.
(Kerwin's admission before the Senate was not filed, submitted as evidence in this case.)
The justice chief said prosecutors can only use the statements of high-profile drug suspects if these are submitted as evidence.
"Ang mga fiscal, hindi obligadong makinig [sa Senate hearing]. At kahit nakinig sila, unless we are submitting evidence, hindi po iko-consider iyun," he said.
Obusan said they will still pursue drug charges against Espinosa and his cohorts, as they will be filing a motion for reconsideration. He said they are open to including the excerpts of Espinosa's testimony in the Senate in their motion.
The Justice Secretary has already tapped a new panel of prosecutors to tackle the CIDG's motion. He has also ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the prosecutors who decided to drop the case based on lack of evidence.