DOJ denies Peter Lim's plea to dismiss drug charges

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 27) — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra stood by his predecessor's decision to reinvestigate alleged drug lords operating in the Visayas.

Guevarra on Friday dismissed the appeal of Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim to reverse the order of then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, which would review the dismissal of drug charges against him, self-confessed drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa, and several other suspects.

Guevarra denied Lim's appeal "for lack of merit."

"Movant has failed to show any violation of his due process rights, much less his right to a speedy disposition of his case," Guevarra said in his resolution.

These were the arguments raised by Lim's counsel in criticizing Aguirre's order to reopen the probe under a new set of prosecutors.

The first panel earlier dropped the charges against the suspects for lack of evidence, a move that put the department in hot water. Aguirre has since resigned from his post amid rumors he would be sacked.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself questioned why state prosecutors dismissed the case against Espinosa when Espinosa himself admitted he was involved in the Eastern Visayas drug trade.

Meanwhile, Lim was earlier named by Duterte as part of a Chinese triad leading illegal drug operations in the Visayas.

It was later revealed that Lim was Duterte's compadre (co-sponsor) in a wedding. Malacañang said it would be "unfair" to say it was because of this connection that Lim was earlier cleared by prosecutors.

Lim met with Duterte in Davao City in July 2016. He denied involvement in the drug trade, saying the "Peter Lim" also known as "Jaguar" in the drug trade could be one of his namesakes.

The key witness of the complainant, the Philippine National Police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, however identified "Jaguar" as the man in eyeglasses who met with Duterte.

READ: Suspected drug lords Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa: What we know so far