WHERE’S THE WARRANT?
The police have been itching to serve the arrest warrant against Cebu businessman Peter Lim.
In fact, a special team had been formed to do it.
But as of Wednesday evening, law enforcement units in Cebu have yet to receive the official copy of the arrest warrant issued by a Makati City judge against the controversial Cebuano businessman.
“We’re waiting for it. We know it’s there, but we have to wait for the authentic copy of the (arrest) warrant from the court,” said Senior Supt. Royina Garma, director of the Cebu City Police Office.
“Even if I myself will meet Peter Lim while on my way to church, I will personally arrest him as long as I have the original copy of the warrant,” she added.
Judge Gina Bibat-Palamos of the Regional Trial Court Branch 65 in Makati City on Tuesday ordered the arrest of Lim over charges of “conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading.”
On the same day, she issued the arrest warrant against Lim and, in particular, directed the Mabolo Police Station or “any officer of the law” to arrest Lim whose given address was at No. 12 Tres Borces Extension in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
“You are directed to execute this warrant without necessary delay to arrest the said accused to deliver him to the nearest jail or police station and to report such fact immediately to me, to present himself to me within 10 days thereafter,” Palamos said.
“If after 10 days from receipt of this warrant by the police officer particularly assigned by you to execute it, the arrest of the accused failed, you will report such fact to me stating the reasons for such failure,” she added.
Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, director of the Central Visayas police, said the arrest warrant will be delivered by a staff of the Makati City trial court to the Mabolo Police Station.
Another copy will be given to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Visayas (CIDG-7).
“As of the moment we have not received the official order of arrest and the warrant of arrest for Peter Lim,” he said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
Although they don’t have a copy of the arrest warrant yet, Senior Insp. Dindo Alaras, commander of the Mabolo Police Station, said they are already preparing on how to implement it.
“We have a team dedicated to serve the warrant of arrest. Since it is part of our job, then we will implement it,” he said.
“But let us not speculate for now until we get the official copy of the arrest warrant,” he added.
No more contact
Lim’s spokesperson Dioscoro “Jun” Fuentes maintained that he has lost contact with his boss since last month.
“I really have no knowledge about his whereabouts now,” he said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
“If authorities think he’s at his residence, then they can serve the arrest warrant,” he added.
Fuentes begged off from issuing any further statement.
Hold departure order
The Department of Justice had already asked the Makati City court to issue a hold departure order against Lim should he attempt to flee.
Fuentes earlier claimed that Lim remained in Cebu although now he’s no longer sure about his boss’ whereabouts.
He also did not give a categorical answer on whether or not the Infinity Bar and KTV in Cebu City, which was reportedly owned by the Lim family, was already sold to another owner.
Not in his house or office
A house helper at Lim’s residence in Cebu City said he has not seen Lim for some time now.
“Igo lang ko nga tig-atiman sa mga iro dinhi. Wala ko kahibaw asa siya (My only task is to take care of the dogs here. I don’t know where he is),” said Lim’s employee who requested anonymity.
A security guard at Hilton Heavy Equipment in Mandaue City, an establishment owned by Lim, also said he has not seen Lim at the office.
“Bag-o ra man sab ko dinhi (I’m just new here),” he said.
The Bureau of Immigration in Cebu has referred all queries about Lim’s possible travel abroad, saying only their central office in Manila can give an official statement.
A panel of prosecutors last Friday recommended the filing of charges against Lim for violating Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, particularly for “selling, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of any dangerous drug.”
The DOJ used as a basis the testimony of self-confessed drug lord Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr. before the Senate where Lim was identified as one of his suppliers of dangerous drugs.
President Rodrigo Duterte publicly called out Lim in 2016, alleging that he was one of the biggest drug dealers in the country.
The charges against Lim and company were dismissed last year because of the failure of the CIDG to present sufficient evidence and because of the “inconsistencies” in the testimony of Adorco, the lone witness.
The decision drew the ire of senators and several individuals particularly since Espinosa has admitted his involvement in the illegal drug trade.
President Duterte also expressed his dismay over the dismissal of the case and threatened to put then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II behind bars if Lim and Espinosa would go scot-free.
Aguirre then issued an order canceling his prosecutors’ findings and ordered a reinvestigation of the case.
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