MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) will keep its hands off, for now, from the investigation on alleged Philippine drug triad member "Peter Lim" aka "Jaguar."
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the investigation on Lim's alleged involvement in the widespread distribution of illegal drugs in the country is left with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), an attached agency of the DOJ.
Aguirre clarified that the DOJ will come in once charges are already filed with the department.
"Hindi naman investigative body and DOJ. Ang role ng DOJ is nandito kami, kinakailangan magfile ng kaso sa amin and that will be the time pag nandyan na sa amin ang kaso saka kami mag-iinvestigate by way of preliminary investigation. Hindi kami maaaring manguna sa pag-iimbestiga ng kaso kasi mayroon naman kami investigative body, ang NBI," Aguirre told journalists at a chance interview.
The justice chief said the challenge is for the police and NBI to zero in on the "Peter Lim" involved in illegal drugs from the four thousand persons named "Peter Lim" in the Philippines.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Region 11 had one "Peter Lim" surrender to President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday. The PDEA said the Cebu-based businessman "Peter Lim" who surrendered "to clear his name" to the president was investigated in 2006 for an alleged drug offense.
The "Peter Lim" who met with Duterte in Davao City claimed he had no links to the illegal drug trade.
Duterte had earlier named a certain "Peter Lim" as one of the Philippines' top drug lords being protected by "narco police generals."
"Since Peter Lim came forward to talk to the president and to clear himself, ang order dyan is for Peter Lim to prove, together with the police agencies, that he has nothing to do with drugs. Pero pag mayroon, the police or the NBI will file the case vs Peter Lim for preliminary investigation.
"Apat na libo yata ang 'Peter Lim' na yan. Sa totoo lang sa dami ng 'Peter Lim,' may nagsasabing yung 'Peter Lim' na talagang drug lord ay namatay na at may nagsasabi na tong 'Peter Lim' na to is the same as Peter Co," Aguirre said.
Peter Co was also named by Dutere as another top drug lord in the same triad, along with Lim and Herbert Colangco. Co and Colangco are both serving drug-related sentences at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Asked if the DOJ will issue anytime soon an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (LBO) against the Peter Lim who surrendered to Duterte, the justice chief said there has to be a "preliminary negative finding" on Lim's alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade and a request for LBO by an investigative agency before an LBO may issue.