Palace asks Peter Lim to surrender: 'You have nothing to fear'

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"We have proven to the world that we have an independent judiciary. You have nothing to fear, by way of being a victim of injustice," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque tells Peter Lim. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 23) — Malacañang on Thursday asked accused drug lord Peter Lim to surrender to authorities, assuring him he would not be a "victim of injustice."

"We're asking Peter Lim, please surrender. If you are innocent, prove your innocence in court. You will be given your day in court," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing.

He clarified he was not making an "appeal." "I'm just saying, if you don't surrender we will still get you," Roque said.

He also assured the Cebu-based businessman of a fair trial.

"We have proven to the world that we have an independent judiciary. You have nothing to fear, by way of being a victim of injustice," Roque said.

The police are hunting down Lim following the arrest order issued against him on charges of conspiracy to commit illegal trading. His co-accused, self-confessed drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa, earlier told a Senate hearing that Lim was his supplier in selling and distributing illegal drugs in the Visayas. Lim denied any involvement in the illegal drug trade.

The Makati Regional Trial Court also issued a hold departure order to prevent Lim from leaving the country.

Malacañang believes Lim is still in the country, saying "there's no information that he has left." The Justice Department said he left for a 'short trip' abroad in March, but has since returned to the country, citing immigration records.

READ: Where is Peter Lim?

The Palace also stressed that the only connection Lim has with President Rodrigo Duterte was that they both stood as sponsors in a wedding.

"But the President does not personally know Peter Lim. There was a wedding that they were there together, but that's the full extent," Roque said.

Duterte had also named Lim as part of a Chinese triad leading illegal drug operations in the Visayas, with the alias "Jaguar."

Lim met with Duterte in Davao City in July 2016 to clear his name, saying the "Peter Lim" the President was referring to could be one of his many namesakes.

CNN Philippines' AC Nicholls contributed to this report.