DOJ charges Peter Lim for drug trade conspiracy

Lian Buan
DOJ charges Peter Lim for drug trade conspiracy
(UPDATED) The new prosecution panel gives merit to Kerwin Espinosa's admission to the Senate that he knows Lim to be a top drug supplier

MANILA, Phillippines (UPDATED) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim with two counts of conspiracy to commit illegal drugs, reversing the earlier controversial decision of its own prosecution panel which cleared Lim.

Assistant State Prosecutors Juan Pedro Navera, Anna Noreen Devanadera and Prosecution Attorney Herbert Calvin Abugan released the resolution on Friday, August 10.

The information was filed at the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Friday morning. The two counts cover two alleged transactions in Makati.

The Navera panel is the new panel assembled by former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II after the public outcry on the first decision.

The new panel’s basis for indicting Lim are admissions from Kerwin Espinosa and the lone government witness, Marcelo Adorco.

Espinosa told a Senate hearing in 2016 that Lim was a top drug supplier in Visayas.

Espinosa and Adorco were earlier indicted by the new prosecution panel headed by Navera.

“The admission of respondent Espinosa during the legislative investigation of the Senate Committees on Justice and Public Order, together with Marcelo Adorco’s positive identification of Peter Go Lim as one of Kerwin’s suppliers of dangerous drugs is sufficient to establish probable cause to charge them with conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading,” the prosecution said.

(READ: 2002 House report proves Peter Lim lied over drug links – gov’t lawyers)

Asked whether they are sure if Lim is still in the Philippines, Navera said they will be coordinating with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to make sure “our indictment is effective.”

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the BI would have alerted the DOJ if Lim has left the country because there is an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (ILBO) against him.

“I have not revoked it, so as far as the BI is concerned, it susbsists,” Guevarra said.

Just like in its indictment of Espinosa, the prosecution panel said there is no need to present a physical proof of drugs to charge Lim and the others of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading.

(Read: 2 of Lim, Espinosa co-accused in drug charges already dead)

“It is a distinct offense under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and that the agreement to trade in drugs is the gravamen of the offense,” said the panel.

Adorco has testified to transacting with Lim on behalf of his boss Kerwin, which allegedly happened at SM Hypermarket and Cash and Carry in Makati.

Adorco also said one transaction with Lim happened in Thailand. Lim denied being in Thailand on those dates.

But the panel said: “His alibi that he could not have possibly been in Thailand during the time attested by Adorco has to yield to the positive and affirmative statements of said witness.”

Lim has a pending Supreme Court petition which asks to nullify the entire DOJ investigation for violating his right to due process. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.