PETER LIM FEARS FOR HIS LIFE
Businessman denies drug raps; to face charges head on
The Cebuano businessman tagged as one of the biggest drug lords in the country is losing sleep following the predawn raid that killed Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and 14 others.
“I’m scared for my life,” declared Peter Lim, who met reporters on Thursday to deny his involvement in the illegal drugs trade.
But Lim said he was worried about his safety after what happened to Parojinog, who, like him, was linked by President Duterte to illegal drugs.
His anxiety worsened after he was charged with drug trafficking in the Department of Justice (DOJ) along with the country’s biggest drug lords.
“Yes I am scared. Because of the false accusations against me, people might think it’s true,” he told reporters in a short interview on Thursday at Hilton Motors, a heavy equipment company he owns in Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City.
But the 70-year-old businessman has no plans of running away.
“You know, it’s not easy to be accused of something you have never done. (But) I will answer whatever allegations. I have to face the case,” he said.
Lim was publicly named by President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the country’s biggest drug lords. He was also identified by self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa as one of his suppliers of shabu (crystal meth).
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) filed a case against Lim, Espinosa and six others for alleged conspiracy to commit the “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals.”
The criminal conspiracy, the CIDG said, was continuously existing in various places in Makati City, as well as in Central and Eastern Visayas from February 2013 to August 2015 at the very least.
The DOJ ordered Lim to attend the preliminary investigation set on Aug. 14 and 17.
The Chinese-Filipino businessman has repeatedly denied the accusations hurled against him.
“It’s a big lie and is fabricated. The allegations are not true. I’ve never been in that kind of business, and I will never be in that kind of business,” Lim said.
He said he welcomed the preliminary investigation conducted by the DOJ because it gave him an opportunity to clear his name.
Asked if he would ask for police escorts to quell possible threats on his life, Lim said, “I don’t think the police will give me escorts.”
“Poor me. I can’t request for it. If I can, I will but poor me cannot have police escorts,” he added.
Lim said he and his family had been badly affected by the accusations leveled against him.
“All of them are worried. My children and grandchildren are affected. My health is also not good. I have a kidney (ailment), and I am not fully well yet,” he said.
Lim’s daughter, Caryl, expressed hopes that his father would eventually be cleared of the allegations.
“Our family welcomes the DOJ’s investigation. We are grateful of our father’s opportunity to finally clear his name from these malicious and false accusations,” she said in a statement.
“Since our father’s name was linked to the illegal drugs trade, without any proof more than two decades ago, and once again in July 2016, our family has silently waited for our father’s opportunity to be heard in a proper forum,” she added.
Lim was first dragged into the illegal drugs trade in 2001. He and his brother Wellington were subjected to a congressional inquiry on illegal drugs.
Two of their former employees — Bernard Liu and Ananias Dy — detailed the businessman’s involvement in illegal drugs during the investigation. But their testimonies were apparently not enough to move the case forward.
Lim and his brother Wellington were later cleared due to lack of evidence.
But in July 2006, Dy was shot dead by two unidentified men at the corner of Salvador and Katipunan Streets in Barangay Labangon, Cebu City.
Liu, on the other hand, was already decomposing when found in his house in Talisay City in September 2011. A rope was tied around his neck and crude oil poured over his body.
Caryl, one of Lim’s 10 children, said their father has never been involved in illegal drugs.
“We cannot express how deeply affected we are by the reports that unfairly molded the public’s perception that our father is a drug lord. Our family has suffered so much from his horrible experience,” she said.
“Our children do not deserve to be called as ‘apo ng (grandchildren of) drug lord.’ We also fear that our father will have to carry this stigma for the rest of his life. We can only pray for him and support him in this difficult time.”
Caryl appealed to the public not to judge Lim who, she said, was a “loving father, doting lolo (grandfather), caring uncle, loyal friend, and God-fearing Cebuano.”
“We appeal to our fellow citizens and friends. We ask for your compassion and understanding. Please reserve your judgement against our father. We are confident that he will soon be cleared of these baseless allegations and the country will know the true Peter Go Lim,” she said.
Lim has engaged the services of Manila-based lawyers Francis Alex Lopez and Miguel Gabionza to represent him at the DOJ.
The two lawyers said they have yet to obtain a copy of the complaint and its supporting affidavits.
“When he submitted himself to President Duterte, Mr. Lim committed to cooperate with any investigation on him. That commitment remains until now. Mr. Lim views the probe against him as his chance to clear his name,” they said.
To prove that they are not hiding anything illegal, Lopez asked the media to inspect his office and workplace.
He added the Lims were giving up their right to privacy to allow the media to enter his office and even his home so they could check the premises themselves.
“We would like to emphasize that Mr. Lim has not left and will continue to face the false and fabricated accusations against him,” the lawyer said.
Aside from Lim and Espinosa, also facing a complaint at the DOJ were convicted drug lord Peter Co, alleged drug supplier Lovely Adam Impal, Marcelo Adorco, Max Miro, Ruel Malindangan and Jun Pepito.
Espinosa, said to be the biggest drug lord in Eastern Visayas, was arrested in Abu Dhabi in October 2016. He later told the police that Lim was among his suppliers of illegal drugs.
Espinosa has been under the custody of the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program.
On the other hand, Co, one of the so-called “Bilibid 19” high-profile convicts, is still detained at the National Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.
Impal, considered as the “drug queen of the south,” was arrested in a sting operation conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Iligan City last January 18.
Miro, who allegedly served as Espinosa’s right hand man, surrendered to Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, who was then Albuera police chief, in September last year.
Espenido was moved to Ozamiz City to head the police station. He later headed the predawn raid on the house of Parojinog on Sunday.
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