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Drilon urges Duterte to review drug case vs Espinosa, Lim

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Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday urged President Duterte to review the Department of Justice (DOJ) resolution clearing from illegal drug charges so-called high profile personalities despite public admissions, such as in the case of Kerwin Espinosa.

“The President should review this because the Office of the President has supervision and control over all Cabinet secretaries,” he said.

Drilon, a former DOJ secretary, said that while such resolution approved by acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr. is subject to an automatic review of DOJ Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II, there’s nothing in the law that bars Duterte from re-examining the case.

“The review first is through the secretary and after the secretary, through the Office of the President,” he said.

In calling for the review of the decision, Drilon noted that records in the Senate, when Espinosa testified before them, openly admitted being engaged in illegal drugs trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) and in giving “payola” or protection money to ranking police officials.

He also claimed of giving P8 million supposedly to Sen. Leila de Lima when she was still in the DOJ and planning to run for the Senate.

“(So) that makes it more incredible (the DOJ findings). Espinosa admitted his involvement,” Drilon pointed out.

Espinosa is alleged to be on top of the illegal drug trade operations in the Visayas region.

The DOJ, in a 41-page resolution said the evidence presented by the Criminal Investigation and Detection (CIDG) are weak prompting the dismissal of the case against Espinosa and others personalities charged including businessman Peter Lim, said to be a “kumpadre” or a co-sponsor in a wedding of the President and whom the Chief Executive once described as one of the biggest drug lords in the country.