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Natakot? Lawyers of Espino, Baraan ditch drug-linked clients in Sandiganbayan cases

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The lawyers of Pangasinan Representative Amado Espino Jr. and former provincial administrator Rafael Baraan have decided to no longer represent the respondents in their cases before the Sandiganbayan.

The law firm Poblador, Bautista and Reyes has filed a notice of withdrawal of appearance which informed the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division that it is no longer lawyering for Espino and Baraan.

The two are facing two counts of graft in connection with the alleged illegal mining of black sand in the Lingayen Gulf in 2011.

It can be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte has included both Espino and Baraan in a matrix of personalities allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade within the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

Also placed in the matrix was Baraan’s brother, former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III.

The case at the Sandiganbayan involved the provincial government’s issuance of Small Scale Mining Permits (SSMP) to two companies in 2011 even though they lacked the necessary clearance certificates and accreditation. During this time, Espino was still governor of the province.

It was also discovered that Espino issued a Mineral Ore Export Permit to a mining company. This permitted the firm to sell the illegally-mined minerals to DH-Kingstone Holdings Co. Ltd. in China to the tune of P10.750 million.

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