SC junks Peter Lim's plea to halt DOJ probe on drug case

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2018 04:37 PM | Updated as of Sep 27 2018 03:01 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Supreme Court has dismissed alleged drug lord Peter Lim's petition that sought to stop the Department of Justice (DOJ) from investigating drug trading charges against him.

"Acting on the petition for certiorari (with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary injunction)... the court resolves to dismiss the petition for failure to show any grave abuse of discretion in rendering the challenged order and resolution which, on the contrary, appeared to be in accordance to the facts and the applicable law and jurisprudence," the resolution read.

In March, then-Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered the creation of a new panel of prosecutors following public outcry on the dismissal of the complaint against Lim, Kerwin Espinosa, convicted drug distributor Peter Co, and Marcelo Adorco among others.

The case was dismissed by the first panel because lone witness and respondent Adorco’s testimony against the other respondents was “unreliable” and “uncorroborated,” and no drug evidence was presented by complainant Philippine National Police (PNP).

The dismissal’s number one critic was President Rodrigo Duterte, who previously tagged Lim as a big-time drug lord.

During the reinvestigation, the PNP was represented by the Office of the Solicitor General.

In his petition with the high court, Lim alleged that the DOJ committed grave abuse of discretion and violated his rights to life, liberty, due process of law, and to speedy case disposition. 

He named Aguirre’s successor, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, and members of the second panel of prosecutors, chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, as respondents in the petition.

The DOJ indicted Lim and the other respondents named in the complaint before the Makati Regional Trial Court. 

The RTC has issued warrants for their arrest; Lim is now considered a fugitive from justice after authorities failed, so far, in locating him. 

Espinosa remains with the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program in connection with his testimony in a separate drug case against former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima for her alleged involvement in the New Bilibid Prison"shabu" trade.