DOJ to begin probe into drug trade allegations vs Peter Lim

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) set for August 14 and August 17 the preliminary investigation into drug trade and conspiracy allegations against Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim and several others.

The subpoena for Lim to attend the hearings at the DOJ was earlier served at his residence in Cebu City, but only a security guard received it.

The preliminary investigation is based on the complaint of the police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Major Crimes Investigation Unit.

In a report sent by Superintendent Richard Verceles to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on July 4 and released to media on Wednesday, August 2, the CIDG is seeking charges of drug conspiracy and trading against Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Co, Marcelo Adorco, Max Miro, Lovely Impal, Ruel Malindangan, Jun Pepito, Jermy alias Amang, a certain Ricky, Warren, Tupie, Jaime, Yawa, Lapi, Royroy, Marlon, Bay and several John Does.

According to the police complaint, Espinosa's drug group operating in Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas was supplied with shabu by Co, Impal, and Lim.

Co is already serving time at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). He is also one of the government's witnesses against detained Senator Leila de Lima.

Drug network

Adorco of Albuera, Leyte was arrested in July 2016 in a buy-bust operation, and it was then that he named the father and son Espinosa as the owners of shabu seized from them. Adorco also named Co and Lim as their suppliers.

Adorco identifies himself with the Espinosa drug group who supposedly transacted 20 kilograms of shabu in February 2013 from Co and another 20 kilograms from Lim that same month.

Lim allegedly transacted 4 more times with their group in 2014 inside Cash and Carry in Makati City.

In 2015, Lim allegedly delivered 50 kilograms of shabu to the Espinosa group. Lim, the younger Espinosa, and Adorco had supposedly met in Thailand prior to the transaction.

"The Peter Lim who had supplied them staggering amounts of shabu is the same Peter Go Lim, a businessman from Cebu City, who was named by, and later surrendered to President Rodrigo Duterte in July 2016," the complaint said.

The "surrender" referred to in the complaint is the meeting between Lim and Duterte in Davao City in July 2016 where the businessman asked the President to help him clear his name.

Lim, who mingles with Cebu City's political and business elite, had repeatedly claimed he is not the Peter Lim that Duterte named as a drug lord. The businessman had been spotted with Duterte in two parties in Cebu in June last year. (READ: Is he top 'drug lord' Peter Lim? 9 things about the Cebu businessman)

And then the July meeting happened where Duterte instructed Lim to report to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

"Indeed there was widespread illegal drug trade in Regions 7 and 8 during the years of their existing conspiracy prompting no less than the President of the Philippines to announce those involved in the illegal drug trade to include Peter Lim, Peter Co, Kerwin Espinosa and the latter's father, Rolando Espinosa," the complaint said. 

The older Espinosa was killed in a police raid inside his jail cell in Leyte. The legitimacy of the raid was again scrutinized in a Senate inquiry after murder charges against the policemen were downgraded to homicide by no less than the DOJ.

Lim, meanwhile, is on the immigration lookout list. The Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order cannot prohibit someone from leaving the country, but just sets up a mechanism so authorities are alerted if the subject of the ILBO is trying to leave the country.

According to the Bureau of Immigration, a certain Peter Go Lim arrived in the country via the Mactan-Cebu International Airport from Hong Kong last June 27. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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