DAVAO CITY—The Cebu businessman whom President Rodrigo Duterte accused of being one of the top drug lords in the country surrendered to the Chief Executive at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency office here, denying involvement in the narcotics trade.
“I will execute you…. I will finish you off,” Duterte told businessman Peter Lim during the meeting, a video of which was posted on the YouTube channel of Radio Television Malacañang.
But the businessman denied that he was the same Peter Lim whom Duterte singled out in a television address and that there are many Peter Lims in the country.
Lim said he has feared for life since Duterte publicly said “the moment he steps out of the plane, he will die.”
“My family is really in a deep problem now in Cebu. We are getting all the threats,” Lim said, admitting, however, that he had previously been investigated by Congress in 2006 because of his alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade but the charge was dismissed.
But Duterte replied: “I will not say I’m sorry because the reason you’re here is you’re a suspected drug lord.”
Duterte advised the businessman to bring a lawyer and submit himself to the Department of Justice, Solicitor General and the National Bureau of Investigation to disprove the allegations against him.
“Our nation is very lucky to have you. You’re the only president who could save our nation. You really mean business,” Lim said. “I will help in any way I can.”
But PDEA regional director Adzhar Albani clarified that Lim is not yet off the hook and still has to explain his supposed links to the illegal drug trade while PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña stressed that Lim has been in the agency’s most-wanted list for quiet some time.
Meanwhile, three town mayors whom Duterte also accused of being involved in narco-politics have come out to deny involvement in the narcotics trade.
In Ozamiz City, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog denied any involvement in the illegal drug trade after his name was dragged into the controversy as one of those public officials involve in narco-politics.
The Standard chanced upon Parojinog during the annual Subayan keg Subanen Festival on July 16 and he denied that his daughter, Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parajinog-Echavez, is the wife of Herbert Colangco, one of the 19 convicted drug lords jailed at the Bilibid National Penitentiary.
Parojinog said his daughter cannot be married to Colangco because her marriage to former Philippine Basketball Player Edgar Echavez has just been annulled. Echavez is now the village chairman of Barangay San Antonio in Ozamiz City.
Parojinog said that he would welcome any investigation to clear his name.
In Koronadal City, Mayors Antonio Fungan of Lake Sebu town and Mayor Dibu Tuan of T’boli, both in South Cotabato, separately denied they were among those involved in narco-politics.
Earlier, South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance Fuentes said that she was told that two town executives in the province were in the Duterte list of persons involved in drug trade. Fuentes did not name names.
However, some mayors decided to come out and deny after messages in the social media identified the town mayors.
“I am sure I am not one of the two that Gov. Fuentes was referring to,” Fungan told DXOM-AM Radyo Bida. “I have never been involved in illegal acts, especially illegal drugs.”
Fungan said when the news come out that two of South Cotabato’s 11 mayors, he decided to undergo drug test and its results were negative.
While denying he was into drugs, Fungan admitted that Fuentes has the right not to name the involved local officials but Tuan insisted that Fuentes name the town mayors.
Tuan stressed that one of his priority agenda when he was elected as mayor was criminality and illegal drugs.
Tupi Mayor Reynaldo Tamayo, Tampakan Mayor Leonardo Escobillo, Sto. Niño Mayor Pablo Matinong and Banga Mayor Albert Palencia also denied involvement in illegal activities and only four town mayors and a city mayor have not issued statement about Fuentes’ pronouncement. With PNA