MANILA- Kerwin Espinosa may serve as witness in a criminal case filed by the police against him and his alleged drug suppliers and cohorts for illegal operations in Visayas, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said.
Aguirre on Wednesday said Espinosa may be discharged as a state witness in the case involving violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, for conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading, either at the level of the Department of Justice’s preliminary investigation or in court, in the event respondents are indicted.
Espinosa is under the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program (WPP), and one of the benefits under Republic Act (RA) No. 6981, also known as the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act which provides immunity from criminal prosecution and penalty or forfeiture for any transaction, matter or thing concerning his testimony or books, documents or writings.
“He could be immediately discharged before the actual trial or pwede naman during the trial,” Aguirre said.
Charged along with Espinosa by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) before the DOJ are alleged drug lord Peter Go Lim aka “Jaguar;” drug convict Peter Co; alleged drug supplier Lovely Impal, and several others.
The group is allegedly responsible in the sale and trading of at least 90 kilos of “shabu” in Regions 7 and 8.
The justice chief, however stressed that it will be up to the panel of state prosecutors handling the preliminary investigation of the case to rule on the matter.
“I don’t want to go and state my definite decision on this because I might be the one to be called to make the final judgment,” he said.
The first hearing on the complaint is set on August 14.t