IT was as odd as it could get: Cebu businessman Peter Lim being told in the face by President Duterte he would finish him off the next time he would return: "sunod balik mo, tiwasan gyud tika."
Then some breath later, in the same meeting last July 6 in Davao City, there was Duterte advising Peter Lim to submit to an investigation: "Help us clear you."
And things got odder the next day. The NBI said it would first identify Cebu's Peter Lim and find out if he was a drug lord: "identity" and "culpability," the NBI official called it.
Meaning, even after Cebu's Peter Lim braved into the lion's den and was threatened again of being crushed like a bug, the law enforcers are still not sure if it's the evil bug.
What? Wasn't Peter Lim told by the president that he (Cebu's Lim) was in all agencies' lists of drug lords: NBI, PDEA, police, military? After the Davao meeting, NBI says they still have to establish identity.
The constitutional presumption of innocence has been flipped and held up on its tail, with the suspect now burdened with the duty to prove innocence.
Beyond that travesty, after all those government law enforcement agencies tagged Peter Lim -- which apparently led Duterte to shame the Cebu businessman publicly, not once but twice -- NBI is telling the public it would have to identify the "bad" Peter Lim first and then gather evidence of his alleged crime.
No wonder some people see signs of a stage play and suspect class prejudice: the small-time drug pushers being shot and dumped in isolated areas, and the biggies -- the generals and the drug lords --being just given public scolding.
Those who witnessed arbitrary methods of martial law see the same badges of discrimination: the wealthy and influential getting to meet the president and stay free; the lesser crime suspects being jailed or salvaged.