DOJ grants Peter Lim’s wish

By Norman V. Mendoza and Inquirer |May 30,2018 - 10:50 PM

The panel of investigators from the Department of Justice (DOJ) has granted the request of Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim that a separate preliminary investigation be conducted in relation to the drug complaint filed against him.

Last April, Lim filed a motion for a separate preliminary investigation expressing fear that his defenses might not be given due attention.

“Mr. Lim is concerned that his defenses and the obvious lack of evidence against him might not be given due attention in view of the number of respondents and transactions involved in the case,” the motion stated.

During Wednesday’s preliminary investigation, Lim again was absent. His lawyer, Atty. Magilyn Loja, cited security reasons for her client’s absence.

“Due to safety reason, our client is not present,” Loja said.

The DOJ panel of prosecutors earlier dismissed the charges against Lim and the other respondents, citing the failure of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to present strong evidence against Lim and the other respondents.

The decision caused a public uproar, including President Rodrigo Duterte, who threatened to put then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II in jail if Lim and confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa would go scot-free.

Aguirre immediately canceled his prosecutors’ resolution clearing the respondents and formed a new panel to look into the case last March 19, attributing his decision to the “nationwide uproar” created by the dismissal of the criminal charges against the suspected big fish in the local narcotics trade.

The controversial dismissal of the charges against Lim and his co-respondents led to the resignation of Aguirre as Justice Secretary last April 5.

Months after he assumed his post in July 2016, President Duterte identified one “Peter Lim” as one of the country’s biggest drug lords.

The Cebuano businessman then quickly denied that he was the Peter Lim linked by the President to illegal drugs.

In July 2017, the CIDG’s Major Crimes Investigation Unit filed a case against Lim and several 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 CIDG presented as its lone witness, Marcelo Adorco, one of alleged henchmen of Espinosa.

Adorco claimed that Lim supplied narcotics in “staggering amounts” to

Espinosa for more than two years. On June 4, 2015, Adoro said Lim allegedly met with him and Espinosa in Thailand regarding the delivery of 50 kilos of powdered meth at the Cash & Carry parking lot in Makati City three days later.

But Lim’s camp said the businessman had surrendered his passport to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to prove that Lim was not in Thailand on June 4, 2015, and was instead confined at the Cebu Doctors’ Hospital due to a kidney problem.

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