President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday met with one of the country’s alleged top drug operators.
In a video released by Presidential Broadcast Staff-Radio TV Malacañang on Saturday, Duterte was seen talking with Cebuano-Chinese businessman Peter Lim at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Region XI office in Davao City.
Duterte earlier identified Lim as one of the high-profile drug lords, who was reportedly behind the illegal drug trade in the Visayas.
But the businessman denied that he was a drug dealer.
Peter Lim is a fairly common name in the Philippines, where part of the population claims ethnic Chinese descent.
Lim told the President that he has feared for his life since his name was mentioned.
“My family is really in a deep problem now in Cebu. We are getting all the threats,” he said.
But Duterte shot back: “I will not say I’m sorry because the reason you’re here is you’re a suspected drug lord.”
The president also warned Lim to steer clear of narcotics.
“I will execute you…. I will finish you off,” Duterte said during the meeting.
The President “strongly” advised Lim to submit himself to an investigation, to prove that he is not the “Peter Lim” identified as a member of a drug triad.
“We want to help you… help us clear you,” Duterte said.
Lim said he is willing to help the government in its fight against illegal drugs to eventually clear his name.
“Our nation is very lucky to have you. You’re the only president who could save our nation. You really mean business,” he added.
Aside from Lim, Duterte also identified Wu Tuan alias Pete Co and Herbert Colangco alias Ampang as some of the top drug lords operating in the country.
He also claimed that five police generals, two of them retired, were also involved in the illegal drug trade.
Co and Colangco are high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Duterte had vowed to identify 23 mayors linked to the illicit drug trade.
On Saturday, two town mayors in South Cotabato denied involvement in illegal drugs.
Mayors Antonio Fungan of Lake Sebu town and Mayor Dibu Tuan of T’boli denied they were among those to be named by the President.
Earlier, South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance Fuentes said two town executives in the province were in Duterte’s list of persons involved in illegal drug trade. Fuentes did not identify them but some mayors decided to come out to make their denials.
“I am sure I am not one of the two that Gov. Fuentes was referring to,” Fungan said in a radio interview. “I have never been involved in illegal acts, especially illegal drugs.”
Fungan said when news came out that two of South Cotabato’s 11 mayors were suspected to be involved in illegal drugs, he took a drug test and the result was negative.
Tuan, meanwhile challenged Fuentes to name the mayors so that public ridicule aired on social media will stop.
Tuan stressed that one of his priorities as mayor was to step up the campaign against criminality and illegal drugs.
Earlier, Tupi Mayor Reynaldo Tamayo, Tampakan Mayor Leonardo Escobillo, Sto. Nino Mayor Pablo Matinong and Banga Mayor Albert Palencia also denied involvement in illegal activities.
Only four town mayors and a city mayor have not issued a statement about Fuentes’ pronouncement.