Statement of Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II on the Automatic Review of the case of Kerwin Espinosa et. al.,

23 March 2018

Acting on the Automatic Review in relation to the case docketed as NPS No.. VXI-INV-17G-0071, entitled: “Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Major crimes Investigation Unit vs Peter Go Lim a.k.a. Jaguar, Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa, Peter Co, Marcelo L. Adorco, Max Mirco, Lovely Impal @Lovely, Ruel Malindangan, Jun Pepito, Jermy @Amang, @Ricky, @Warren, @Lapi, @Royroy, @Marlon, @Bay, John Dee, Peter Doe, Robert Doe, and several unidentified others”,  I issued an Order dated March 19,  2018 mandating that the December 20, 2017 Resolution in this case be vacated and that the case be remanded to a new panel of prosecutors.

The foregoing order finds its legal anchorage on Section 4 of the Republic Act No. 10071 otherwise known as the “Prosecution Service Act of 2010” in relation to DOJ Department Circular No. 004 dated January 04, 2017 with the subject matter on Automatic Review of Dismissed cases involving Republic Act No. 9165 otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002”.

       Section 4 of RA No. 10071 provides:

Sec. 4. Power of the Secretary of Justice. - The power vested in the Secretary of Justice includes the authority to act directly on any matter involving national security or a probable miscarriage of justice within the jurisdiction of the prosecution staff, regional prosecution office, and the provincial prosecutor or the city prosecutor and to review, reverse, revise, modify or affirm on appeal or petition for review as the law or rules of the Department of Justice (DOJ) may provide, final judgments and orders of the prosecutor general, regional prosecutors, provincial prosecutors and city prosecutors.


For purposes of determining the cases which may be acted on, directly by the Secretary of Justice, the phrase "national security" shall refer to crimes against national security as provided under the Penal Code, Book II, Title I, and other cases involving acts of terrorism as defined under the Human Security Act under Republic Act No. 9372.

Likewise, the new panel of prosecutors  are empowered to continue the conduct of  the continuation of the preliminary investigation and to allow the complainant and respondents to submit additional pieces of evidence in support of their respective position.

I further ordered that the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the complainant is deemed moot.

Relative to the foregoing, I likewise issued Department Order 149 dated March 19, 2018, designating the members of the new panel.

I wish to reassure the Filipino people that your Department of Justice remains fully committed to the mandate of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that we will use all our resources to effectively wage war against drugs, corruption and other forms of criminality.

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