Malacañang on Sunday defended President Rodrigo Duterte's meeting with Cebu businessman Peter Lim, who is suspected of being one of the top three drug lords in the country.
"Well, the alleged suspect, drug lord suspect Peter Lim has already expressed his intentions to clear his name, let’s leave it at that," Communications Secretary Martin Andanar when asked over state-run radio dzRB why Duterte let Lim leave the meeting alive.
The question was pegged on Duterte's recent statement: “If he has friends here, sabihin mo sa kanya, the moment he lands here at NAIA, he will die...Do not come back to the Philippines anymore, the moment he steps out of the plane, he will die. That is my assurance to the people of the Philippines."
The initial information revealed by Malacañang on Lim alias Jaguar was that he was out of the country.
During his meeting with the Cebu businessman, Duterte just threatened to execute him if evidence would prove that he is the "alias Jaguar" who handles illegal drug operations in the Visayas.
Lim denied to Duterte that he was alias Jaguar. He has also assured that he will submit himself to government investigations.
The Bureau of Immigration had said that there are more than 4,000 people with the name of Peter Lim on its records.
Andanar said that following the meeting, the "burden" of proving his innocence is now on Lim.
"Let’s just wait until the final investigation comes out. Let’s just wait for Mr. Peter Lim’s evidence and what he can show to clear him from this allegation," he added.
Duterte suggested to Lim during the meeting to bring a lawyer with him and go to the Department of Justice or directly to the National Bureau of Investigations for the investigation.
Andanar, meanwhile, denied that Duterte is implementing "selective justice" in his anti-crime drive.
"Well, as we can see that the President has even named the Level 5 drug lords. Level 5 drug lords or alleged drug lords are the highest that you can get in the hierarchy of those who are selling, pushing, peddling illegal drugs," he said.
He added: "Now, as far as I can remember in the history, I have not seen a president who has been so brave in announcing to the public the people who have been or allegedly are behind this menace of drugs." —ALG, GMA News