By GENALYN D. KABILING
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has nullified the dismissal of the case against suspected drug lords Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, and their cohorts, allowing the case to be “wide open” for additional evidence.
Appearing in a Palace news conference, Aguirre said he has issued a department order “vacating the dismissal of the case” to pave the way for a fresh probe following the “nationwide uproar” and “backlash.”
“Since I already exercised my power under the automatic review, I issued an order yesterday (Monday) vacating the dismissal of the case – so much so that there is no such dismissal anymore,” Aguirre said.
“I ordered that the case be ordered wide open for both parties – the complainants and the respondents to file whatever evidence they have in support of their respective position,” he added.
He said the motion for reconsideration pending before he assumed the power of automatic review is also now deemed “moot and academic.”
A new prosecution panel has been assigned to review the drug charges against Espinosa, Lima, and other suspects, according to Aguirre. “The case is now wide open for the submission of all evidence by both parties,” he added.
He assured that the case would not be necessarily “back to zero,” saying the prosecution would have the opportunity to strengthen the case against the drug suspects. He said they could also secure the transcript of the Senate hearing when Espinosa supposedly admitted involvement in the illegal drug trade.
A panel of Department of Justice (DoJ) prosecutors earlier recommended the dismissal of the drug charges against Espinosa, Lim and others for supposed lack of evidence.