Peter Lim still in PH: Guevarra

MANILA — Cebu-based businessman and alleged drug lord Peter Lim is still in the country, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

Guevarra said the suspected drug trader’s name has been included on the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) derogatory list after the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) issued a hold departure order (HD) that prevents Lim from leaving the Philippines.

He added that immigration records showed that the 72-year-old Lim “has not left the country since March” this year.

“Per BI (Bureau of Immigration) records, Peter Go Lim has not left the country since March, unless he slipped thru the backdoor,” the Secretary said in a text message sent to reporters Saturday.

Guevarra added that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has also “joined the hunt” for Lim.

Both the BI and NBI are attached agencies of the DOJ.

BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval earlier said they immediately included Lim’s name on their derogatory list after they received the copy of the HDO against the businessman on Friday.

Lim is facing charges of violating Section 26 (B) in relation to Section 5, Article II (conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading) of Republic Act No. 9165.

On Friday, Makati City RTC Branch 65 Acting Presiding Judge Gina Bibat-Palamos issued the HDO at the request of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“Finding the grounds relied upon by the prosecution to be impressed with merit, the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for the Issuance of Hold Departure Order (HDO) against Peter Go Lim is hereby granted,” read the order of Palamos.

With this, Bibat-Palamos directed the BI “to prevent or hold the departure from the country of accused, Peter Go Lim.”

Apart from the HDO, she also issued arrest warrants against Lim and his co-accused, Ruel Malindangan on August 14.

The issuance of the warrants was made after the DOJ filed last August 10 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 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Apart from Lim and Malindangan, those named as accused in the charges are self-confessed drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa and his associate Marcelo Adroco, both of whom are in government custody.