Lim defies order to appear before DOJ

Published May 30, 2018, 3:44 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Jeffrey Damicog

Businessman and suspected drug lord Peter Lim defied the order of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appear at Wednesday’s hearing of the drug complaint filed against him and his co-respondents.

CONVINCE ME – President Duterte (right) talks to Cebu businessman Peter Lim (left) at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) office in Davao City Friday night. Lim, who was earlier tagged by Duterte as one of the top drug lords in the country, came forward to deny the allegations. (Presidential Communications Office /
(Presidential Communications Office / Manila Bulletin file photo)

Because of this, the panel of prosecutors conducting the preliminary investigation of the drug case will no longer allow him to file a counter-affidavit in defense against the drug allegations.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, who heads the panel, explained it was important for the panel to determine the identity of Lim by personally appearing and swear to the authenticity of the counter-affidavit he was supposed to submit on Wednesday.

“In order for us to settle that issue it is important for the panel to see him personally,” Navera stressed.

“You know there are implications if he does not attend and it is really not the concern of the panel whether he intends to file a counter-affidavit or not,” he warned Lim’s lawyers.

“This is just like any other preliminary investigation, if the respondent does not submit his or her counter-affidavit then the consequences under Rule 112 must apply,” he added.

Lim’s legal counsel, lawyer Magilyn Loha, apologized before the panel for the non-appearance of the Cebu-based businessman.

“We have explained to our client the consequences, the requirement, the directive made by this honorable panel. However over and against the advice of counsel he advised us that paramount to him is his safety, thus, he decided that he will not be able to attend today’s hearing,” Loha told the panel.

Meanwhile, the panel issued a resolution which granted Lim’s request to undergo a separate preliminary investigation over the drug case.

“Respondent Lim maintains that the alleged transactions involving him and co-respondent Espinosa (Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa) are separate, distinct and totally unrelated to the other transactions with the other respondents in the case,” the resolution read.

However, since Lim waived his opportunity to file a counter-affidavit, the panel decided to go ahead and wrap up his separate preliminary investigation by June 29.

Navera gave Lim’s lawyer and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), which represents the complainant Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s Major Crimes Investigation Unit (PNP-CIDG-MCIU), to file on June 29 their respective memoranda which lists the evidence submitted before the panel.

Meanwhile, the panel will continue the preliminary investigation against Lim’s co-respondents.

The panel also gave the OSG until June 22 to submit its reply to the counter-affidavits submitted by the other respondents.

Apart from Lim, Espinosa, those who have been named as respondents in the complaint are convicted drug lord Peter Co; arrested drug dealers Lovely Impal and Marcelo Adorco; Max Miro; Ruel Malindangan; Jun Pepito; and several others who are only known through the aliases Amang, Ricky, Warren, Tupie, Jojo, Jaime, Yawa, Lapi, Royroy, Marlon, and Bay.

Under the complaint, Lim and his co-respondents are accused of violating Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5 (Sale, Trading, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals) of Republic Act 9165, also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.