Cebu News

Peter Lim: I’ll clear my name

John M. Destacamento - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Peter Lim, the businessman from Cebu facing allegations of being a drug lord, is expected to appear before the National Bureau of Investigation tomorrow (Thursday) and show evidence he believes will tip the scales in his favor.

“Yes, I will go to the NBI (Manila) to comply with the president’s instructions to have myself investigated so they could help me clear my name…so I’m submitting myself freely to the NBI,” Lim told The FREEMAN in an exclusive interview in his office last night in Mandaue City.

The 67-year-old businessman said he is optimistic he will be absolved from the accusations if the investigation is handled fairly.

“I’m confident (I will be exonerated) because I’m not in that (illegal drug) business,” he said, “as long as there won’t be any foul play, no fabrication, wrong reports, kanang binuang nga stories that are made up, then yes, I’m confident.”

Mistaken identity?

Lim suspects that the reason his name has cropped up in intelligence reports on drugs could be because of a certain Barry Luk alias “Peter Lim,” who was reportedly among the big-time drug dealers in the country based on a privilege speech delivered by Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III in 1997.

He showed The FREEMAN a photocopied clipping of a news item, published on July 30, 1997, that read: “Sotto identified the ‘bigger’ drug dealers as Cheung Sheng Nan, Allan Dy alias Apollo Dy, Henry Tang, Barry Luk alias Peter Lim, Francis Lim, Benito Ang, William Go and a certain Miss Manuel.”

Yesterday, Lim denied knowing anyone named “Barry Luk.”

Along with news clippings, Lim will also present to the NBI newspaper columns that he believes would help him clear his name.

A former labor union leader, in one particular column published also in 1997, wrote: “The revelation of the names of drug lords in the local PNP list who are supposed to be eminent local businessman is awaited with bated breath. I know who they are since I was made privy to the list… Surprisingly, the one associated with heavy equipment is not in the list.”

“So you see, I was not even on the list,” said Lim, who said he is engaged, up to this day, in the business of importing heavy equipment for sale locally.

However, the businessman, during his meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, admitted that he, along with his brother Wellington, once became the subject of a congressional inquiry over allegations linking them to the drug trade.

The hearings were led by then Cebu City representative Antonio Cuenco, who was then the chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs.

Based on previous reports, Bernard Liu and Ananias Dy, who were employees at the Hilton Heavy Equipment owned by the Lim brothers, testified against their former employers.

Liu reportedly affirmed to have gone with the Lim brothers to Hong Kong to get a supply of illegal drugs, which were allegedly later distributed domestically. Cuenco was quoted as saying he remembered the two witnesses told investigators that the Lim brothers brought the drugs into the country in a golf bag.

Dy, for his part, also testified that Peter Lim was into illegal drug business and had connections with Customs and Immigration personnel which made it easier for him to carry out his operations.

However, Lim yesterday said these hearings were “terminated” when no evidence was found that could confirm such claims.

Later in 2006, Dy would be shot dead by two unidentified men in Barangay Labangon, Cebu City, and in 2011, Liu would be found dead inside his home in Barangay Tangke, Talisay City, cases that remain unsolved to this day.

Duterte photo

Meanwhile, Lim yesterday confirmed having posed in the same photo with Duterte even before the president revealed “Peter Lim” as one of the high-profile drug personalities in the country. This took place when the two attended a wedding reception at a posh hotel in Cebu last June, wherein they stood as principal sponsors.

“Who doesn’t want to have a photo with the president? It so happened we were on the same wedding. I saw an opportunity. No one in his right mind would dare have a photo with the president if he is into drug business,” Lim said.

In the picture, Duterte and Lim were seen wearing Barong Tagalog and black pants. The latter maintained that he posed with Duterte in good faith.

“Everybody was pushing each other to have a photo taken with the president,” Lim said.

Much safer

He also admitted that after his meeting with the Duterte on Friday, he now feels at least much safer.

He said he decided to talk to the president to show his willingness to undergo a probe so he could prove his innocence, adding that reports tagging him as a drug lord have put his family in danger.

“We (our family) have been affected because of reports insinuating that it was me. I think that’s unfair,” he said.

“The Peter Lim mentioned by the president was clearly not me. How could it be me? The president said that Peter Lim frequently travels in and out of the country. He even said he will kill him if he lands in NAIA. As for me, all the while, I was just here in Cebu,” he added.

Lim said the last time he went abroad was in April this year when more than 30 members of the family spent the Holy Week in Japan.

Lim’s two sons, Peter Jr. and Charles, along with an adviser, Dioscoro Fuentes Jr., were present during yesterday’s interview.

Once more, he appealed to the public, especially those in social media, to be more discerning on the issues before judging him or his family. (FREEMAN)

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