MANILA (Updated) -- Rolan "Kerwin" Espinosa and the lawyers of businessman Peter Lim appeared Monday at the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the preliminary investigation on the drug-related complaints filed against them by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
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Lim, who snubbed the investigation, was represented by his lawyers Magilyn Loja, Alex Lopez and Barbie Kaye Perez.
Loja did not provide the reason for her client's absence in the hearing, but she said there have been threats against Lim's life.
"He has expressed sometime early August that there's information to make him believe that his life is in peril," she said.
Loja added Lim "vehemently" denied that he is the person referred to as Peter Go Lim alias "Jaguar."
"He's not that person. He has always denied it. In fact, he has presented himself saying that he's not that aka Jaguar," said Loja.
Aside from Lim, alleged drug suppliers Marcelo Adorco, Max Miro, Lovely Impal, Ruel Malindangan and Jun Pepito also disregarded the subpoena issued by the DOJ.
Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Roberto Rabo meanwhile attended the hearing on behalf of New Bilibid Prison inmate Peter Co.
In Monday's hearing, Lim's camp asked the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) if they could present Adorco in the next hearing so that he can subscribe to his complaint affidavit.
The CIDG, however, rejected the request, citing the cost of transferring Adorco to Manila from Leyte.
"Unfortunately, the reason given to us is that it will be very costly for him to be brought here," she said.
Loja believed Adorco should be present during the next hearing so he can prove his claims implicating Lim in the drug-related activities.
"Considering that the crime imputed to my client is very grave, we find it that he should be presented so that he can subscribe and verify in fact if his claims are true," Loja said.
The lawyer said he will advise Lim to attend to the next hearing scheduled on August 17.
"We will advise him considering that there is a requirement for the submission of counter affidavit," Loja said.
Assistant State Prosecutors Aristotle Reyes and John Michael Humarang, the prosecutors handling the complaints, have directed all respondents to file their respective counter affidavits on August 24 at 10 a.m.
The prosecutors scheduled another hearing on August 17 only for those respondents who failed to attend Monday's hearing.
Espinosa, Lim and their co-accused are facing criminal complaints for violation of the Section 26 (b) in relation to Section 5 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 at the DOJ.
The CIDG in Central Visayas said the respondents conspired to sell illegal drugs in Central and Eastern Visayas. (SunStar Philippines)