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PHILIPPINES: Palace vows to go after big fish in drug war, says dismissal of case vs. Lim, Espinosa, Co et al not yet final

Phillipines, March 13, 2018 – Malacanang, Manila – Malacañang on Tuesday, March 13, assured the public that the Duterte administration will not allow the big fish to get away from the government’s fight against illegal drugs, stressing that the dismissal of complaints against high-profile drug personalities is not yet final.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a Palace press briefing that the dismissed case against Peter Lim, aka Jaguar, Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa, Peter Co, et al is far from being closed as it is still up for review by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.

“We understand the sentiments and the frustration of the public over the dismissal… We will not allow a big fish to go away if there’s evidence to go after him,” Roque said.

“Hindi pa po tapos ang ‘boxing’ laban kay Peter Lim at dito kay Kerwin Espinosa.  Rerepasuhin pa po ‘yan ng Kalihim ng Department of Justice, at sisiguraduhin na tama ang naging naunang desisyon ng ating mga public prosecutors,” he added.

Roque noted that the Justice department’s review would determine whether the petition to dismiss the charges should be reversed, or whether additional evidence is necessary to sustain a conviction when the case is filed before the courts.

“Ang pangako po ng ating Presidente, kung kulang ang ebidensya, dadagdagan. At kung merong kababalaghan, parurusahan naman ang mga responsable,” he said.

“Ang importante lang, masiguro na itong desisyon ng pagdi-dismiss ay nakabase po sa ebidensya at kung hindi, gagawa po ng hakbang ang awtoridad para matuloy ang kaso,” he added.

The Palace official likewise pointed out that the dismissal of the case against Lim, Espinosa, Co, et al would not affect the drug charges filed against Senator Leila De Lima, stressing that there are other witnesses who are willing to testify against her.

“Hindi naman po kasama dito sa kasong ito si Leila De Lima. So, iba po ang basehan ng pagsampa ng kaso kay Leila De Lima,” Roque said, adding that the Supreme Court has already found probable cause in the complaint against the senator.

Furthermore, Secretary Roque assured the public that the President remains committed to end the drug menace in the country and go after all personalities involved in the illegal drug trade.

“Huwag po kayong maabala, siguro naman po walang kaduda-duda na seryoso ang ating Presidente dito sa giyera laban sa droga,” he said.

Release: Presidential Communications Operations Office

                Republic of The Philippines

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