Nalzaro: Who were behind Wellington’s attack?

IT WAS a well-planned and a well-executed assassination attempt. But the assailants overlooked and miscalculated their target. He was on board a bullet-proof vehicle. That’s why he survived unscathed. Who would have thought that the target, businessman Wellington Lim, would survive? His bullet-proof vehicle, a Ford Expedition, saved his life.

Wellington, younger brother of businessman and suspected drug lord Peter Lim and the uncle of the controversial road rage suspect David Lim Jr., was about to leave their family-owned establishment, Infinity KTV and Music Lounge, on Archbishop Reyes Ave. last Friday midnight, when his vehicle was peppered with bullets by two gunmen on board a white pickup vehicle.

Unfortunately, a security guard, Wilson Bucay, who was guiding Lim from the parking area, was hit. He died instantly while his co-security guard, George Lambating, was injured together with two unnamed German nationals who happened to pass by the area.

Under heavy fire, Wellington still managed to drive his car to I.T. Park in Lahug where he sought refuge in his condominium. He abandoned his vehicle at condo’s premises. Police recovered more than 50 empty shells, slugs and live ammunition of an M-16 armalite rifle and 9 mm pistol at the crime scene. Wellington was reportedly driving alone when the incident happened.

Wellington is not on President Duterte’s drug list. Only his elder brother Peter is. But he was included in the inquiry by the House committee on illegal drugs chaired by then Cebu City south district representative Antonio Cuenco. This, following the revelation of two of their trusted men, Ananias Dy and Bernard Liu, about the Lims’ involvement in the illegal drug trade several years ago. Dy and Liu died under mysterious circumstances a few years ago.

Who were behind Wellington’s attempted assassination? Peter’s suspicion that it was a government-sponsored move could be true. There are only few civilians who are issued permits to possess long and high-powered firearms like M-16 rifles. These are usually issued to government agents like the military, police, National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Peter, in his statement, asked why the perpetrators wanted to kill his brother when Wellington and himself are innocent of the government’s accusations and the public perception that they are involved in the illegal drug trade. However, we cannot also discount the possibility that business rivalry or personal grudge was behind the attack. That is a big challenge to our law enforcers to ferret out the truth.

Peter, who is facing charges for alleged illegal drug trading together with self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa Jr., rejoiced when his case was dismissed by the panel of prosecutors of the Department of Justice. But it was a short-lived “happiness” because Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre reversed the panel’s findings following presidential intervention and public pressure. Once the case is filed in court, a warrant of arrest will be issued against him and he will be behind bars. Its a non-bailable offense like the case of Sen. Leila de Lima.

Was Wellington’s ambush a way of sending a message to personalities and their relatives who are into illegal drugs that their days are numbered? From what I have learned, Wellington’s role in their family businesses is on the “entertainment side.” He is the one who entertains high-government officials, including the top brass of the police organization, who visit Cebu. They let their “guests” use their expensive cars and entertain them at Infinity. Peter is seldom seen in public.

This is what I have been saying all along, the Lims’ lives are in danger as the government continues to wage war on illegal drugs. Because of the pressure and the strong public suspicion that they are involved in the illegal drug trade, their lives are now at stake and in jeopardy. They now live in fear, and expect a worst-case scenario.
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