Philippine leader demands review of dropped cases vs. alleged drug kingpins

From Reuters - March 13, 2018

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a review of a decision by state prosecutors to dismiss complaints against several suspected drugs kingpins, amid outrage among the public and some of his allies about them walking free.

A Department of Justice panel, citing weak evidence,cleared 22 suspects in a decision they made in December but was made public only on Monday in a document leaked to media. A self-confessed drug dealer was among those cleared.

Duterte has publicly named and shamed several provincial politicians and businessmen as drug lords controlling the narcotics trade in the Southeast Asian nation. Some have been killed in what police said were shootouts.

I will invoke my power of supervision and control and will review (the) dismissal, Dutertes spokesman, Harry Roque, quoted the president as saying during a joint command conference with police and military officials on Tuesday evening.

Police insisted on Wednesday they had strong cases against the suspects.

Among those cleared were businessman Peter Go Lim and Kerwin Espinosa, who was arrested by Abu Dhabi police in October 2016.

Espinosas father, Rolando, a mayor in central Leyte province, was killed in what police said was a gunfight in his prison cell three months after he surrendered in August 2016 to answer drugs charges.


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