Peter Lim no-show at arraignment on drug raps

MANILA — Fugitive businessman and alleged drug lord Peter Lim was a no-show in Tuesday’s arraignment on the drug charges filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) before the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC).

During the arraignment, Lim neither his co-accused Ruel Malindangan showed up but the other two accused — self-confessed drug dealer Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa and Marcelo Adorco pleaded not guilty to the two counts of the non-bailable offense of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade in violation of Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Judge Gina Bibat-Palamos of Makati RTC Branch 65 reset Lim and Malindangan’s arraignment on Sept. 14 while the pre-trial and the presentation of the witnesses of the prosecution panel will also be held on the same date.

Both Espinosa and Adorco are in government custody, while, Malindangan is at-large and also the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the Makati RTC.

Last Aug. 14, the court issued a warrant of arrest against Lim after evaluating the information and supporting evidence filed by the Department of Justice.

Palamos also ordered the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to prevent Lim from leaving the country when she granted the motion filed by state prosecutors.

“The Hold Departure Order shall remain effective until otherwise ordered and cancelled by the court,” read the two-page order dated August 17.

Espinosa, Adorco, and Malindangan are also facing two counts of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade at the Manila RTC and Makati RTC along with convicted drug lord Peter Co and alleged drug supplier Lovely Impal.