2 House witnesses vs Cebu ‘drug lord’ ended up dead in 2006, 2011 – Cuenco
CEBU CITY — Two witnesses who testified against suspected drug lord Peter Lim and his brother Wellington in the House of Representatives inquiry into illegal drugs in 2001 ended up murdered separately in 2006 and 2011, former Cebu City Rep. Antonio Cuenco, said on Thursday.
Cuenco, who used to represent the Cebu City’s south district and was the author of the law now being used to prosecute drug traffickers, said Peter Lim and his brother Wellington have been on the Philippine National Police’s drug watchlist since 1997. As chairman of the House committee on dangerous drugs in 2001, Cuenco initiated an investigation in aid of legislation into the drug trafficking in the Philippines.
Two witnesses — Bernard Liu and Ananias Dy — testified against the Lims in the House inquiry. But despite their testimonies, the National Bureau of Investigation dismissed the complaints against the Lim brothers due to insufficiency of evidence. Liu was shot dead in 2006. Dy was found dead with obvious signs of foul play inside his house in 2011.
“A Peter Lim was on my list that was provided by the Philippine National Police at that time. I don’t know if he’s the same Peter Lim alluded to by President Duterte,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer over the phone.
Cuenco called the House inquiry in 2001 in aid of his plan to draft the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
The committee dropped a bombshell when it presented two witnesses— Bernard Liu and Ananias Dy—who accused the Lim brothers of being drug lords.
Liu and Dy worked at the Hilton Heavy Equipment owned by Peter and Wellington Lim.
In his testimony, Liu said he was privy to the illegal drug activities of the Lim brothers because he was brought to Hong Kong three times, between 1989 and 1996 to get supplies of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride).
Dy made a similar testimony, saying that Peter Lim was engaged in drug trafficking and that it was easy for his former boss to operate because the latter had contacts with some Customs and immigration officials.
But Cuenco said the Lim brothers were eventually cleared of the accusations.
“The National Bureau of Investigation failed to validate the information against the Lim brothers. We can’t establish any case for lack of evidence,” he said.
The Lim brothers later filed charges against Dy and Liu for libel and for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act based on the two men’s admission in a congressional hearing that they once brought into the country a golf bag containing illegal drugs from Hong Kong.
The court issued an arrest warrant for Liu and Dy but the two went into hiding.
In July 2006, Dy was shot dead by two unidentified men at the corner of Salvador and Katipunan Streets in Barangay Labangon, Cebu City.
In September 2011, Liu was found dead in his home in Naya Subdivision, Barangay Tangke, Talisay City, where he lived alone.
A rope around his neck and crude oil poured over his body were the tell-tale signs of murder.
Liu’s body was already decomposing when police discovered the corpse at the back of his house.
Cuenco welcomed any investigation to be conducted against Lim and other suspected drug lords.
“If the President (Duterte) wants to investigate, I won’t object. If he has solid evidence, let justice take its course,” he added.
Cuenco expressed admiration for Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs but begged off from commenting on the deaths of suspected drug lords and peddlers.
“That is his own style. And he won by a resounding margin in the last elections. Let’s respect the mandate of the people,” he said.
Cuenco was the primary author of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 at the House of Representatives. He was joined by the late Senator Robert Barbers in authoring and shepherding the passage of the law now used in prosecuting those involved in illegal drugs.
According to Solicitor General Jose Calida, Peter Lim is a businessman who operates in the Visayas. He is now among the three men identified by President Duterte as big-time drug lords whom retired police general Marcelo Garbo is allegedly coddling.
Quoting Duterte, Calida identified on Thursday, Peter Lim, alias Jaguar, as among those who have been thriving under the protection of Garbo, a former regional director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7).
The two other drugs lords allegedly protected by Garbo are Wu Tuan, alias Peter Co, and Herbert Colangco alias Ampang.
Co and Colangco are high profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City while Lim was reportedly outside the country, as of Thursday.
Co is reportedly the leader of the Bilibid 19, a group of drug convicts living a luxurious lifestyle inside the national penitentiary.
Citing intelligence information, Calida said Co has been handling the illegal drug trade in Luzon and National Capital Region, while Lim has been controlling the illegal drug trade in the Visayas. SFM
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