MANILA - The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on Tuesday asked President Rodrigo Duterte to preventively suspend public prosecutors behind the dismissal of charges against drug suspects Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, and their alleged cohorts.
The PACC said the public prosecutors behind the dismissal of the case, namely Assistant State Prosecutor Michael John Humarang, Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Rassendel Gingoyon, and former Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan, must be suspended pending an investigation into their actions.
The commission is also seeking a lifestyle check on the prosecutors.
PACC is also recommending the launch of an investigation against police investigators behind the supposedly weak complaint against the self-confessed drug lord that led to his exoneration.
“Something is fishy. The dismissal of the Espinosa drug case will not be taken sitting down by the PACC. Our mandate is to assist the Office of the President to investigate corrupt and erring public officials in relation to the performance of their duties and this is exactly what we will do,” PACC Spokesperson Greco Belgica said in a statement.
Department of Justice prosecutors had dismissed the charges against Espinosa, Lim, and several others due to weak evidence, disappointing President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
Aguirre earlier pinned the blame on the Philippine National Police - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for not using Espinosa’s confession in a Senate hearing regarding his involvement in the illegal drug trade.
He also ordered a probe against the prosecutors who handled the case.
The PACC said the public prosecutors should be probed for failing to set a hearing to tie the loose ends of the case.
“This is very disturbing. The prosecuting panel must and should have exerted all efforts to serve justice to the people and to our country,” Belgica said.
Belgica added the CIDG should be probed for failing to submit relevant and vital documents to the case, such as the transcript of a Senate hearing where Espinosa admitted his involvement in the drug trade.
CIDG chief Director Roel Obusan earlier explained that Espinosa's Senate testimony was not used in the complaint because he refused to corroborate this during the preliminary investigation.