Yearender: Illegal drugs probe drops bombshell in Cebu

CEBU CITY — Cebu’s worsening drug problem became all the more controversial after prominent businessmen were dragged into the mess.

An inquiry by the House committee on dangerous drugs headed by Rep. Antonio Cuenco dropped a bombshell on Oct. 13 when it presented two witnesses who accused two Cebu businessmen of being drug lords.

Witnesses Bernard Liu and Ananias Dy, former employees of Hilton Heavy Equipment, accused their former employers, brothers Peter and Wellington Lim, of being big-time illegal drug traders.

Liu, in his testimony, said he was privy to the illegal drug activities of the Lim brothers because he was brought to Hong Kong thrice between 1989 and 1996 to get shabu supply from a certain David Kam.
Shabu in golf bags
Liu said they brought in at least 10 kilos of shabu in each of the trips, hiding the illegal drug in golf sets which Peter Lim bought during those trips to Hong Kong.

Liu added that he packed the 10 kilos of shabu in aluminum foil, placed it in a golf ball box and finally, inside the golf bag.

Dy similarly testified that his former boss was engaged in drug trafficking and that Lim’s contacts with some Customs and immigration officials gave him easy passage through airport security.

Dy said Lim once asked him to escort a drug shipment to Manila which was intercepted by the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau in December 1991.

Dy added that Peter Lim and a certain Ben Go were the owners of the confiscated 48 kilos of shabu.

The day after the damaging testimony, the Lim brothers called a press conference to deny all the accusations.

Cuenco has tagged Peter as one of the big-time drug lords in Cebu way back in 1997, but the latter opted to remain silent on the issue hoping it would just die down.

Police, however, said Peter Lim’s name was not in their list of suspected drug traffickers. As a result, the Lim brothers filed a P150-million libel suit against Dy and Liu.

The House inquiry produced more witnesses — Samuel Pedrosa, Anastacia Emphasis, Carlos Fuentes, Guillermo Parayno and one Manuel Omega whose accusations led to another controversy.

Pedrosa, former Customs chief for port operation in Mactan, testified on how rampant smuggling was at the airport, saying that even a truck of shabu could pass "if the price (was) right."

Pedrosa, however, failed to link the Lim brothers to the smuggling of illegal drugs into Cebu.
Another controversy
Prior to the hearing on Dec. 7, the last day of the inquiry, another controversy erupted: reports had it that Wellington played golf with Philippine National Police chief Director General Leandro Mendoza.

Wellington vehemently denied the report but admitted that he and Mendoza only greeted each other at the golf course and never talked about the controversy that he and his brother were into.

Then came Anastacia Emphasis, the wife of suspected drug trafficker Ben Go. Cuenco described her as the "missing link" to Peter Lim and Go’s tie-up in the illegal drug business.

Emphasis testified before Cuenco’s committee and admitted knowing Lim and Go as business partners although she claimed having no personal knowledge as to the kind of business the two were engaged in.

Up to the last day of the hearing, Peter insisted knowing a certain Ben Go but said he had not met him at all.

Carlos Fuentes, former manager of the Hilton Heavy Equipment, also testified about the Lim brothers’ links with Ben Go, who was nowhere to be found.

Fuentes said his suspicions were bolstered when Lim ordered the shredding and burning of all importation documents of Go’s shabu shipment which the EIIB intercepted in December 1991.
Case vs Lims
On Dec. 7, the committee completed its investigation against the Lim brothers. Cuenco said the witnesses’ testimonies were convincing enough for the filing of a case for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act against them.

The results of the inquiry will be elevated to the Department of Justice for proper action.

The House inquiry has triggered another congressional probe, this time on the rampant rice smuggling in Cebu.

Cuenco has filed a resolution asking the House committee on good government to investigate the matter.

However, Cuenco said the investigation will only push through should the list of 10 suspected rice smugglers in Cebu be credible enough to merit an inquiry.

Cuenco said Peter Lim is in the list, an allegation that the businessman immediately denied. Freeman News Service











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