Cebuano-Chinese businessman Peter Lim, suspected of being involved in the illegal drug trade, turned down the request of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for him to undergo a drug test, Sun.Star reported.
NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said that Lim’s lawyer (Ramon Esguerra) told the NBI that he had counseled his client to decline the NBI’s request.
“We challenged him na magpa-drug test but his lawyer advised him to defer the request,” Lavin told the Sun.Star in a phone interview on July 27.
Lavin said that he is still confused as to what they meant by deferment as it could be a refusal or a request from Lim’s camp to delay the test.
The NBI spokesperson explained that the bureau cannot compel Lim to undergo drug test because he still has a right to counsel even when he is under investigation.
Lavin added that the NBI does not know when Lim will provide the additional documents required by the bureau. Asked what the documents are, he said that these are related to Lim’s businesses.
Lim appeared before the NBI in Manila on July 21 to follow President Rodrigo Duterte’s advice to submit himself to an investigation to clear his name. Lim visited the President in Davao on July 15, a week after Duterte named a certain Peter Lim, a.ka. Jaguar, as the Visayan member of the drug triad in the country.
The NBI’s recently formed task force focusing on Lim’s case does not have a specific deadline in concluding the investigation to establish his identity, although they are prioritizing this case because of Duterte’s interest in it.
NBI Anti-illegal drug task force chief Juan Roel Bolivar, the head of the task force, said that they are still investigating whether Lim is the drug lord called “Jaguar” that Duterte has exposed as a Triad leader. Once they have determined that Lim is indeed a drug lord, the bureau will file a case against him.
On July 28, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Isidro Lapeña confirmed that Lim is the same Peter Lim in PDEA’s target list of drug lords.