On the DOJ dismissal of drug charges against Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, and 20 others

Karapatan called the Department of Justice’s resolution to drop drug trafficking charges against self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa a “travesty” and “an indication of the department’s lack of credibility, integrity and basic common sense.” 

Espinosa, in a series of Senate hearings and while under oath, admitted to earning PhP50 million yearly in illegal drug trade and maintaining an illegal drug business. In a 14-page resolution, State prosecutors also dismissed drug charges against businessman Peter Lim and 20 others for “uncorroborated statements” and “lack of evidence”.

“This is indicative of the double standard of justice in this country. The poor are subjected to killings and curtailment of rights while we are forced to watch an outrageous spectacle of agencies being so obviously used to favor “kumpares” and self-confessed drug lords. This is the Department of Injustice in full, plain sight!” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Palabay linked the DOJ’s lack of credibility and questionable resolutions to the recent petition to proscribe the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations. Said petition was filed by DOJ’s Senior Assistant State Prosecutor, which named at least 600 individuals in what would qualify as the government’s “fake terror list.” She added that “the Department of Injustice has been weaponized to mobilize against political enemies to churn out dubious and malicious lists while dismissing the charges against those who should be prosecuted and penalized.

“This drug war is a sham. The DOJ and Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre are lackeys who have no more credibility to speak of. When an agency drops charges against self-confessed drug lords amid a so-called campaign to rid the country of illegal drugs, what does that make the agency? When the same agency implicates more than 600 individuals without an iota of evidence against them and stubbornly peddles the narrative that said individuals are “terrorists”, what does that make the agency? The Duterte administration is a circus of lying, thieving, deceptive and self-serving brutes who think they can get away with such a gross distortion of justice,” said Palabay.