What gov’t key witness says about alleged Lim-Espinosa-Co drug network

Lian Buan
Adorco says he and his ‘boss’ Kerwin Espinosa once met Peter Co inside a hospital in Manila to talk about a drug transaction. Co is a convicted drug lord serving a life sentence in Bilibid.

WITNESS. Marcelo Adorco, the police's lone witness so far, executes a fourth affidavit to correct some inconsistencies. File photo by Lian Buan/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The government submitted on Monday, April 30, the fourth affidavit of Marcelo Adorco, key witness in the drug trade case it is pursuing against alleged Visayan drug lords Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa.

Adorco’s fourth affidavit is said to clarify all inconsistencies earlier spotted by the first Department of Justice (DOJ) panel. It was because of these inconsistencies that the first panel cleared Lim and Espinosa of charges.

Before he resigned, Vitaliano Aguirre II scrapped the dismissal of charges, an act recently upheld by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra. The new DOJ panel continued its preliminary investigation on Monday.

Lim’s lawyer Magilyn Moja complained about the new affidavit, saying her client’s right to due process had been violated due to the accommodation of the government’s case.

Posibleng kung hindi pa rin kumpleto, may pang-lima. May pang-anim, hanggang kailan matatapos?…Walang bago eh, this should have been submitted previously.” Moja said. (It’s possible the affidavit is still incomplete, so there will be a 5th. There will be a 6th, when will it end? And there’s nothing new, this should have been submitted previously.)

Assistant Solicitor General Angelita Villanueva Miranda, now the lead lawyer for the government, said the new affidavit seeks to correct mistakes which were committed because Adorco first executed his affidavit under duress. He had just been arrested at the time, his translator spoke Waray while he is Cebuano.

They also noted that Adorco finished Grade 1 only.

What the affidavit reveals

Adorco said that in 2012, he bought shabu from Lovely Impal 4 times. He also said Impal is the runner of convicted drug lord Peter Co, who has been serving a life sentence in Bilibid since 2001.

Adorco said Impal supplied him with 20 kilos of shabu per transaction. All these happened at the Metropolitan Hospital in Manila. 

According to Adorco, he transacted 4 more times with Impal at the same hospital in 2013. They transacted twice at the SM Hypermarket in Makati and at the NLEX Exit Toll Gate in Bulacan.

He said all 4 transactions in 2014 with Impal happened at SM Hypermarket in Makati.

The following year, in 2015, Adorco said he met Co personally when Impal asked him and Espinosa to meet her boss. Impal had supposedly confided in them that Co wanter her killed due to a P10-million debt.

This is a departure from earlier affidavits when Adorco said he met Co in 2014. Adorco said something was lost in translation. (READ: Where is the NBI in the Peter Lim-Kerwin Espinosa investigation?)

Adorco said he met Co inside the Metropolitan Hospital.

Sinabihan kasi kami ng guwardiya ng BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) na hindi puwede ang maraming tao sa loob kaya pinalabas ang iba at ang natira ay sina Kerwin, Lovely Impal, ako, Mr Peter Co at isang taga-BuCor na naka-civilian,” he said in his affidavit, a translation from Bisaya to Tagalog.

(A BuCor guard told us we can’t all stay inside the room, so some of us were sent out. The only ones who remained were Kerwin, Lovely Impal, me, Peter Co, and a BuCor personnel in civilian clothes.)

Co has denied this in his pleadings.

In this meeting, Adorco said Co asked Espinosa if he could sell 50 kilos of shabu in a month. According to Adorco, Espinosa said yes.

Adorco also said that beginning 2015, another person transacted with them on Co’s behalf.

Peter Lim

Adorco said he mostly transacted with Lim’s runner named “Bay”, whom he met 4 times in 2012, getting from him 20 kilos of shabu each time at Cash and Carry in Makati.

In 2013, Adorco said he transacted 4 more times with Lim’s runner, and another 4 times in 2015. (READ: 2002 House report proves Peter Lim lied over drug links – gov’t lawyers)

These accounts of transactions became the basis of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) for accusing Lim of supplying “staggering amounts of shabu”.

Adorco said that he met Lim in 2015 when he and Espinosa went to Thailand. Adorco said Lim’s car had stopped by the roadside and he and Espinosa went inside the car to talk.

This is an account disputed by Lim’s camp, showing photos of the businessman inside a hospital on the supposed dates. Government lawyers presented testimonies of an expert on Monday, saying photos could be altered both in appearance and context.

Hakim Abinal

Adorco said he also transacted with a person he called “Mayor”. He identified Mayor as Hakim Abinal, whom Adorcvo said he used to meet at a house in Novaliches, Quezon City.

Abinal had been identified in recent news reports as the brother of Gambao Abinal, the vice mayor of Maguing, Lanao del Sur. Both are being hunted for drug charges.

Adorco was present on Monday, represented by new lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.

Adorco also said that all shabu they got from their suppliers was taken back to Albuera, Leyte. There, he passed on the shabu to a certain Max Miro, accused alongside Espinosa, Co, and Lim.

On March 10, Miro was killed during the service of his arrest warrant. Another co-accused, Nelson “Jun” Pepito, was killed back in December 2017 by unidentified riding-in-tandem suspects.

The respondents’ lawyers were given time to reply to the new affidavit. The next hearing has been scheduled for May 15. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.