CIDG STEPS UP PROBE OF DRUG LORDS ON DUTERTE LIST

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - By Ador Vin­cent S. Mayol @adorCDN

CEBU CITY— Is busi­ness­man Peter Lim the next tar­get?

Ap­par­ently so, as the Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion and De­tec­tion Group in Cen­tral Visayas (CIDG-7) has started to go af­ter the Chi­nese-Filipino busi­ness­man who was pub­licly iden­ti­fied by Pres­i­dent Duterte as one of the coun­try’s big­gest drug lords.

Supt. Roy­ina Garma, CIDG-7 di­rec­tor, said back­ground and fi­nan­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tions on Lim had been re­quested by higher au­thor­i­ties.

A sub­poena will be sent to Lim within the week, di­rect­ing him to ap­pear be­fore the Depart­ment of Jus­tice.

If war­ranted, Lim will be charged in court. Is­suance of a freeze or­der on as­sets deemed re­lated to un­law­ful ac­tiv­i­ties is also be­ing con­sid­ered by the CIDG, Garma said.

Lim’s lawyer, Pe­dro Les­lie Salva, said his client had noth­ing to hide.

“He is a plain busi­ness­man. He is def­i­nitely not in­volved in il­le­gal drugs. But as it is, we will obey what au­thor­i­ties will ask of us. We re­spect our au­thor­i­ties,” he said.

Garma said her of­fice was also in­ves­ti­gat­ing con­fessed drug lord Franz Sa­balones, re­tired gen­eral and now Daan­ban­tayan town Mayor Vi­cente Loot, for­mer Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Supt. Rex Der­ilo, Supt. Ge­orge Ylanan and some other po­lice of­fi­cials.

The per­son­al­i­ties be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by CIDG-7 were on the list that was turned over by in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers to Mr. Duterte last year.

So far, Garma said, in­ves­ti­ga­tors had un­cov­ered some ques­tion­able prop­er­ties ac­quired by Sa­balones, Der­ilo, and Ylanan.

No un­touch­ables

“I hope this will lead to the fil­ing of charges against them. We have sub­mit­ted our re­ports on th­ese three per­son­al­i­ties. It is all up to our su­pe­ri­ors what to do with them,” Garma told the In­quirer over the phone on Sun­day.

“There are no un­touch­ables here. It is the peo­ple who are mak­ing them un­touch­able be­cause of fear,” she added.

Mr. Duterte ear­lier iden­ti­fied Lim as the big­gest drug lord in the Visayas, while Rama and Loot were in­cluded in the list of so-called “nar­copoliti­cians.”

Rama and Loot have de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

Ylanan and Der­ilo were al­legedly re­spon­si­ble for the death of Jef­frey “Jaguar” Diaz as well as big drug lords in Cen­tral Visayas shortly af­ter Mr. Duterte an­nounced his bru­tal cam­paign against drugs.

But Ce­buanos were later sur­prised that they were among the 200 po­lice­men in Cen­tral Visayas who were trans­ferred to Min­danao on sus­pi­cion of their in­volve­ment in il­le­gal drugs.

The real deal

Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Vi­tal­iano Aguirre II claimed that the Lim iden­ti­fied by the Pres­i­dent was not the Cebu busi­ness­man but Diaz, Cen­tral Visayas’ big­gest drug lord who was killed by the po­lice in a drug op­er­a­tion in Las Piñas City in June 2016.

But Garma in­sisted that the Lim be­ing al­luded to by the Pres­i­dent was the Ce­buano busi­ness­man.

“There were is­sues that he’s not the one but it was even­tu­ally es­tab­lished that he’s the real Peter Lim,” she said.

Garma ad­mit­ted that they were hav­ing a hard time gath­er­ing ev­i­dence against Lim since peo­ple who had per­sonal knowl­edge about the oper­a­tions and trans­ac­tions of the Cebu busi­ness­man were con­cerned for their safety.

Two for­mer em­ploy­ees of Lim were killed sev­eral years af­ter tes­ti­fy­ing against the busi­ness­men dur­ing the con­gres­sional in­quiry on il­le­gal drugs in 2001.

Bernard Liu and Ana­nias Dy had de­tailed the busi­ness­man’s in­volve­ment in il­le­gal drugs dur­ing the con­gres­sional in­quiry. Lim and his brother Welling­ton were later cleared.

Dy was shot dead by two uniden­ti­fied men in July 2006 in Cebu City.

Liu was al­ready de­com­pos­ing when found in his house in Tal­isay City in Septem­ber 2011. A rope was tied around his neck and crude oil poured over his body.

Garma said Lim en­joyed po­lice pro­tec­tion for sev­eral years be­fore he was pub­licly iden­ti­fied by Mr. Duterte as a drug lord.

Garma said po­lice­men even served as Lim’s body­guard.

The po­lice of­fi­cials who were linked to Lim, she said, had been trans­ferred out­side Cebu.

Un­co­op­er­a­tive

Garma said gov­ern­ment of­fices in Cebu were un­co­op­er­a­tive.

“We have over­whelm­ing in­tel­li­gence re­ports against him (Lim) but peo­ple are scared to ex­e­cute an af­fi­davit,” she said.

She said the Bu­reau of In­ter­nal Rev­enue, the Bu­reau of Im­mi­gra­tion, and the Mar­itime In­dus­try Au­thor­ity had been asked to pro­vide doc­u­ments about Lim’s busi­ness trans­ac­tions and trav­els.

But th­ese gov­ern­ment agen­cies, she said, re­fused to give the CIDG-7 Lim’s records due to se­crecy poli­cies of the of­fice.

“I hope peo­ple who know the truth will come out and co­op­er­ate. This is our last chance to ad­dress the drug prob­lem in our coun­try. I think we will never have an­other Pres­i­dent who is sin­cere in elim­i­nat­ing drugs. Let’s elim­i­nate fear,” she said.

WED­DING SPON­SORS Pres­i­dent Duterte and Cebu busi­ness­man Peter Lim, who is sus­pected to be a drug lord, are shown in this photo taken from the Face­book ac­count of Facts Against Ig­no­rance dur­ing the wed­ding of Is­raeli ex­pa­tri­ate Yuri Ofek and Beatrice Borja in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu prov­ince, on June 25, 2016.

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