On July 19, 2018, the panel of prosecutors formed to conduct further preliminary investigation on the case of "PNP-CIDG vs Rolan "Kerwin" Espinosa, Wu Tuan a.k.a. Peter Co, Marcelo L. Adorco, Lovely A. Impal and Ruel S. Malindagan", NPS Docket No. XVI-INV-17G-00171, found probable cause against the said respondents for violation of Section 26 (B) in relation to Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).
In its resolution, the prosecution panel composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutors Juan Pedro C. Navera, Anna Noreen T. Devanadera and Prosecution Attorney Herbert Calvin P. Abugan found sufficient the positive allegations of Marcelo Adorco identifying Espinosa, Co, Impal and Malindagan as his cohorts to charge them with conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade.
The panel explained that under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading is an offense distinct from drug trading. It clarified that the agreement to trade in drugs is the gravamen of such an offense. The drugs themselves as corpus delicti of the drug trading is not necessary under Section 26 (B) of the law.
The panel stated that its conclusion is supported by the recent decision of the Supreme Court in the case of De Lima vs Guerrero, G.R. No. 229781, October 10, 2017. The panel similarly relied on the confession of respondent Kerwin Espinosa that he traded in drugs during the relevant periods as distributor in Regions 7 and 8. Espinosa's confession appears in the transcript of stenographic notes on the legislative investigation of the Senate Committees on Justice and Public Order.
Espinosa, Co and the other respondents will be charged before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City.
However, the panel dismissed the charges against respondents Max Miro, Nestor "Jun" Pepito and Rowen Reyes Secretaria as their criminal liabilities were extinguished by their recent deaths.
This resolution does not include the complaint against respondent Peter Go Lim as he filed a motion for separate preliminary investigation that the panel earlier granted. The case of respondent Lim is pending resolution.