DoJ seeks hold order on suspected drug trader Lim

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Peter Lim
This file photo shows President Duterte listening to businessman Peter Lim, who denied any drug links during a meeting in Davao City. — PHILSTAR

THE DEPARTMENT of Justice(DoJ) has filed for a hold departure order (HDO) against businessman Peter Go Lim to prevent him from leaving the country amid his recent cases relating to the illegal drug trade.

In a petition filed before the Makati Regional trial Court, the DoJ said, “In order not to frustrate the ends of justice, as when accused Lim flees to another country in order to escape Philippine criminal jurisdiction, it is imperative that a hold departure order be issued directing the Commissioner of the Bureau of Investigation (BI) to prevent accused Peter Go Lim from leaving the Philippines during the pendency of these cases.”

The DoJ pointed out that the businessman is “clearly a flight risk given his vast resources.”

Last Friday, the DoJ formally accused Mr. Lim for conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading, which is an offense under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Meanwhile, the DoJ also ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe government agencies that could be involved in recent drug smuggling cases, including the reported entry of multi-billion pesos worth of drugs in the country last week.

DoJ Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, in a text message to reporters on Monday, said, “Our investigation will consider all government agencies, particularly the BoC (Bureau of Customs), and private shippers, brokers, cargo handlers, warehouse men, (and) even other law enforcement agents who may have something to do with these unlawlful acts.”

Mr. Guevarra added that he has ordered the NBI “to investigate the latest incidents of drug smuggling considering the huge value of drugs involved and the relative ease by which they were (transported) into Philippine territory.”

Rep. Robert S. Barber, chair of the House committee on dangerous drugs, said in an interview on Monday that the committee will “call an investigation moto propio” on the recent drug smuggling issues.

Di na kami magfafile ng resolution dito (We won’t file a resolution on this). We will do it moto propio,” he said.

He added that the committee’s agenda for their hearing today will be on the amendments on the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Mr. Barbers noted that the recommendations they gave and are being implemented by the BoC are seemingly not enough to curb the illegal drug trade.

Kitang kita po namin na kung gaano ka-bold ngayon ang ating mga drug lords at kung ano-ano mga ginagamit para makapasok lamang po ng droga sa aming bansa” (It’s obvious how bold the drug lords are these days, they are using all sorts of schemes to smuggle drugs into the country),” he said.

Mr. Barbers said the strict monitoring on shipment transfers has “localized” the illegal drug sources within Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, making it easier for dealers and pushers to obtain and distribute.

Last Tuesday, P4.3 billion worth of shabu (methamphetamine) was seized at a Manila port by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and BoC.

On the other hand, P6.8 billion worth of shabu was reported on Friday to have been smuggled into the country. — Gillian M. Cortez with a report from Charmaine A. Tadalan