THE family of the late Richard L. King, who built a chain of hotels and other businesses in Cebu and Davao, said they were deeply saddened by President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that linked Richard to illegal drugs.

“Indeed the blood has long dried up, and it is sad that our deceased brother Richard is no longer around to defend his honor from a supposed intelligence report fed to our beloved President,” read the family’s press statement.

Lawyer Diolito Alvarez, in an interview, said he had represented King for more than a decade and “can swear to my Creator that he was never into drugs.”

King was 57 when he was shot and killed in a business event last June 12, 2014 in Davao City. He was then CEO of J. King and Sons Co., which has developed hotels and condominium towers.

Last week, President Duterte named five police generals as protectors of illegal drug syndicates. He also named three men who he said were the country’s biggest drug lords. King was not among the three.

However, an ABS-CBN video clip shows the president saying: “I’m sorry now to say it in public and to his (King’s) family who is now in Cebu that after all, your son or your brother was involved in the drug front.”

In that same video, he also said that a property dispute, not illegal drugs, was the motive for the attack on King.

The alleged gunman and a police officer who was accused of planning the attack are now on trial.

In their press statement, King’s family said they were “truly grateful” to Duterte for providing them with support in bringing his attackers to justice.

“However, we are deeply saddened seeing how this wobbly intelligence report has blackened the memory and soul of our dear brother,” they said.

“Our late father-patriarch Jesus King, who built brick by brick our family business up to where we are now, so too will endure this travail in his final resting place,” read their statement.

They offered to cooperate in the investigation, saying it will be the only way they can clear Richard’s name.

As Richard’s counsel, Alvarez recalled that they had filed cases against a mayor and other erring government officials.

In 2007, King and one of his brothers accused then Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Arturo Radaza of asking a contractor for a bribe. The mayor charged them with grave threats and wiretapping.

Five years before that, King had also accused a Regional Trial Court judge of soliciting P250,000 for a favorable decision in a separate case.

“These are not the actuations of a drug lord as drug lords would befriend government officials and not sue them,” Alvarez said.