A Makati City court has acquitted alleged drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa and his co-accused of drug trade charge after the prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence.
In a 21-page decision dated June 6, the Makati RTC Branch 65 granted the demurrer to evidence filed by Espinosa and Marcelo Adorco over the conspiracy to commit illegal trading of dangerous drugs charges that they are facing.
Judge Veronica Tongio-Igot penned the decision.
“Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, the demurrer to evidence filed by both accused are hereby granted,” the ruling read.
“Accordingly, Rolan Espinosa, and Marcelo Adorco are hereby acquitted of the offense charged on reasonable doubt. They are ordered immediately released from detention unless they are confined for any other lawful case,” it added.
The Makati court, in its ruling, said prosecutors have failed to prove the elements of the accused offense under Republic Act No. 165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 to sustain a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
It also dismissed the testimonies of the prosecution’s witnesses as “hearsay” and having “no probative value” as their knowledge of the alleged illegal trading were only relayed by Adorco.
“There is no dispute that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses on the conduct of the investigation upon Adorco is admissible in evidence because they have personal knowledge of the same. However, their testimonies on the alleged illegal trading committed by both accused is hearsay,” the court said.
“Their knowledge on the illegal trading purportedly committed by the accused was limited to the matters relayed to them by accused Adorco,” it added.
The court also said Adorco’s sworn statements were hearsay “as he did not affirm their contents and he has not been subjected to cross-examination”.
His extrajudicial confession, meanwhile, was deemed inadmissible as it failed to conform with the Constitutional requirements.
Further, the court said Espinosa’s extrajudicial confession during the 2016 Senate hearings is inadmissible as the prosecution failed to show it was made voluntarily.
In August 2021, the Department of Justice indicted Espinosa, Adorco, and several other individuals over the illegal drug trade in Eastern Visayas.
One of the drug charges against Espinosa was dismissed later in December 2021.
In 2022, Espinosa recanted his allegations against former Senator Leila de Lima, saying he was “coerced, pressured, intimidated and seriously threatened” by the police to implicate the former legislator.–LDF, GMA Integrated News