Authorities are hunting down Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim, who has been implicated by drug lord Kerwin Espinosa in the illegal drug trade.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II bared this yesterday even as he quickly clarified that Lim would not be arrested but only “invited” as part of the government’s buildup in drug cases.
Aguirre confirmed that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) had established that the businessman who earlier met with President Duterte at the Palace is the same person allegedly involved in drug trafficking operations in the Visayas, as Espinosa claimed before the Senate inquiry.
“The NBI has already determined in its report that Peter Lim, the businessman, is also the drug lord,” Aguirre explained.
He said the NBI was building the case against Lim even before his name was again mentioned in the Senate committee on justice’s hearing last Monday after Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV showed a picture of Duterte with the businessman when they both attended a wedding as principal sponsors.
“The case buildup is ongoing. The President has repeatedly said that he (Lim) should be arrested,” he pointed out, adding that there was nothing wrong with the President attending the same wedding with Lim.
Aguirre said NBI operatives have been tapped to locate Lim and invite him for questioning.
Earlier, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director Isidro Lapeña said Lim met Duterte last July after his name was mentioned by the President as among those involved in the illegal drug trade, and that Lim is indeed the same Lim on their list of drug lords in the country.
There was initial confusion after the President’s announcement when 4,000 persons with the same name Peter Lim appeared in the data base of the NBI, but Lapeña said the Cebuano businessman is indeed the correct drug lord.
In the Senate hearing, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa denied that Duterte is protecting Lim.
Dela Rosa said that the President had ordered the investigation on the businessman who reportedly supported Duterte’s campaign.