THEY had their chance more than a decade ago, but didn’t get anywhere.
Former congressman Antonio V. Cuenco yesterday lamented that the Department of Justice (DOJ), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine National Police (PNP) did not help Congress in getting the truth during an inquiry that began in 2001.
Cuenco said that is one reason the evidence against Cebuano businessman Peter Lim of Hilton Industries, among others, remained weak and was not corroborated by possible witnesses.
The other day, President Rodrigo Duterte met with Lim in Davao City and threatened to kill him (Lim) if he found evidence linking the businessman to the illegal drug trade. Duterte also told Lim to get a lawyer and go to the NBI for questioning.
Cuenco said he was willing to talk with President Duterte if called to clarify the results of the congressional inquiry.
“I am ready to coordinate so that justice will triumph. Peter Lim was not cleared by Congress. But if Peter is really innocent, then that’s it. I have no personal agenda against him,” Cuenco said.
Cuenco recalled that during the congressional inquiry, Lim’s former employees Ananias Dy and Bernard Liu testified in Cebu that Lim had allegedly sent illegal drugs to different areas in the country.
However, Lim’s lawyers alleged that they were not credible witnesses because they were disgruntled ex-employees.
Cuenco said to give them due process, the committee needed other people to corroborate the testimonies of Dy and Liu but they found no one who could do so.
So the House committee, in its report, requested the DOJ to strengthen the evidence at hand. The NBI and PNP were also requested to coordinate with the International Police (Interpol) to locate a certain Barry Lo, alias Peter Lim, but the law enforcement agencies did not cooperate.
“That’s my lament on the NBI and PNP. They did not cooperate with Congress at that time we requested for their assistance,” Cuenco said.
The NBI is an agency attached to the justice department.
“President Duterte is right to try to get the truth. I can help him in getting that House committee report which we signed, because it was not hearsay,” Cuenco said.
Sun.Star Cebu tried to get Lim’s comment but he was unavailable. His spokesman, Dioscoro Fuentes Jr., did not answer calls and text messages. In last Friday’s meeting, Lim had told President Duterte that he was “500 percent” certain that he does not have “that kind of business.”