Aguirre apologizes to justice prosecutors involved in dismissal of raps vs. Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 26) — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has apologized to prosecutors involved in the dismissal of charges against Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Lim.

In a press conference Monday, Aguirre said he apologized for "for causing the investigation, because extraordinary times or extraordinary incidents call for extraordinary solutions or at least, measures."

Aguirre had ordered the prosecutors be investigated after charges against Espinosa, Lim, and other alleged drug personalities were dropped earlier this month.

Aguirre said he ordered the investigation because of the public outcry against the decision, and because he wanted to show there was nothing to hide as the prosecutors decided on the case in accordance with the law.

"Pasensiya na po kayo sapagkat ginawa ko lamang alang-alang para protektahan kayo, ang ating DOJ (Department of Justice)," he said

[Translation: Forgive me because I did this only because to protect you and the DOJ.]

Aguirre said "it is not correct" for him to order the probe, adding the investigation into the drug case will continue.

He added he asked all of the parties involved to prepare all evidence to be considered by the new panel now in charge of investigation.

On March 20, Aguirre said the dismissal of drug charges against alleged drug lord Espinosa and others are still up for review.

"I issued an order yesterday vacating the dismissal of the case, so much so that there is no dismissal anymore, and I ordered that the case be ordered wide open for both parties," Aguirre said.

He said he issued the order following the backlash on the dropping of charges against alleged drug lords Espinosa, Lim, convicted drug lord Peter Co, and more than 20 other drug suspects.

Lack of evidence

In a 41-page resolution made public on March 12, the Task Force on Anti-illegal Drugs under the DOJ recommended the dismissal of the police's complaint against alleged drug lords Espinosa, Lim, and more than 20 others.

The document was signed on December 20, 2017 by assistant state prosecutors and approved by Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan.

"The dearth of complainant's evidence and (Marcelo) Adorco's unreliability as a witness thus constrain us to dismiss the present complaint against the respondents," the resolution read.

Adorco is named as the sole witness in the complaint filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Major Crimes Investigation Unit (CIDG-MCIU).

Adorco claimed to be a close confidante of the Espinosas after meeting Kerwin in prison in 2011, and said he had a notebook that contained the list of people who had illegal drug transactions with the Espinosas.

However, the prosecutors said Adorco's testimonies were "rife with inconsistencies and contradictions," casting doubts on their truthfulness.

CNN Philippines' Pia Garcia, Eimor Santos, and Chad de Guzman contributed to this report.