Video courtesy of Edgar Escalante, ABS-CBN News
MANILA – Cebuano businessman Peter Lim on Thursday said he fears for his and his family's lives after being tagged by President Duterte in the illegal drug trade.
"I'm scared [for] my life, because of these false accusations. People may think it's true but it is not true. I have never been in that business and I will never be in that business," Lim said in a press briefing in Cebu.
"I don't think police will give me escort," he added.
Lim belied stories implicating him in the illegal drug trade.
"It's a big lie. It's fabricated," he said.
However, when asked who he thinks is behind the allegations, Lim declined to comment.
Lim said he will cooperate with the investigation of the Department of Justice (DOJ), following a subpoena issued Tuesday.
In a statement, Lim's lawyers Francis Alex Lopez and Miguel Gabionza said he is ready to answer their questions and will take this opportunity to clear out his name from all accusations against him.
"He cooperated then and he will cooperate now and in the days to come. Mr. Lim only prays that the Filipino people reserve their judgment on him as it is not easy to be accused of a crime that he never committed," the statement read.
Lim's lawyers gave members of the media a tour of his office to prove that the businessman has nothing to hide.
Lim was placed on the immigration watchlist by the DOJ on Monday, which directs the Bureau of Immigration to be on the lookout for the person of interest and verify his status.
Last December, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Lim, who hails from Central Visayas, is the same person referred to by Duterte in a drug matrix he released on July 7. Lim met with the president to deny his involvement in the illegal drug trade.
The NBI was tasked by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to conduct a probe.
"We were able to establish that the Peter Lim who appeared before the President and the NBI is one and the same Peter Lim and the he is the same Peter Lim who is the alleged drug lord of Cebu. The second part of the investigation, as to whether or not Peter Lim is indeed a drug lord, that is ongoing,” NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said last December.
The DOJ has yet to receive the NBI’s findings.
In a statement, Lim's daughter Stephanie said their family has suffered since their father has been tagged in the illegal drug trade.
"Our family has suffered so much from this horrible experience. We also fear that our father will have to carry this stigma fir the rest of his life. We can only pray for him and support him in this difficult time," she said.