Danny Lim declares senatorial bid
Warm hometown welcome for his voter registration
by Ashzel Hachero
Solano, Nueva Vizcaya-Detained former Scout Ranger regiment commander Brig. General Danilo Lim on Tuesday formalized his intention to run for public office in next year’s election in front of thousands of his cheering “kababayans” and local government officials in his hometown of Solano, Nueva Vizcaya.
In a brief statement in front of the Solano Municipal Hall, a stone’s throw away from his high school alma mater of St. Louis School, the 54-year old Lim formally declared his intention to seek a seat in the Senate saying his detention would not deter his desire to continue the fight for reforms he has long espoused in his 35 years of active military service.
“Today, I formally declare my intention to run for Senator in next year’s elections. My decision was brought about by my drive to pursue reform advocacies I have fought for as a military officer for the past 35 years; and, more importantly, to continue to serve my country and people,” Lim said to cheers and shouts of “Mabuhay si Gen. Lim” by his townmates.
“By doing so, I am hoping that I could help revive and unite the Ilocano spirit in the coming elections,” he said adding “In time, I would be asking for the support of not only my fellow Ilocanos, but all of our countrymen who have been longing for change.”
Earlier, Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda granted Lim a three day leave to leave detention and register in the local Commission on Election (Comelec) office here.
Escorted by heavily armed members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), Lim left the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame at about 3:30am Tuesday for the eight hour trip to his province.
At the town of San Jose, Nueva Ecija, where the group had its breakfast, more than two dozen supporters of Lim from the Guardians, a military fraternity and the Samahang Magdalo where he is the national chairman welcomed him and accompanied the three vehicle convoy.
In Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, Lim was warmly welcomed by local officials and employees at the municipal hall led by Mayor Nestor Sevillano. He was also accompanied by his wife, Eloisa “Aloi” Tiongson-Lim and only child, Aika along with Arlene Orejana-Trillanes, the wife of Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Lim said he was heartened by the warm welcome as he took note of the numerous banners, streamers and buntings hanging along poles and trees along the way.
“THis is a homecoming and nothing could compare my happiness seeing my kababayans welcoming me,” he said adding the last time he was in the province was when he attended the Grand Alumni Homecoming of his high school class in 2005.
But the warm reception along the way pales in comparison when he reached his hometown at noon yesterday where he proceeded to the local Comelec office to register and was welcomed by town mayor Felipe Dacayo. Also on hand to welcome him were Aritao mayor Lucita Tan, League of Mayors of Nueva Vizcaya president Nestor Sevillano, Pepito Balgos, president of the province’ Vice Mayors League, Councilor James Toledo, president of the province’s Councilors League and Mayor Alexander Labasan.
Nueva VIzcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla sent a representative, Rudy Buino to the gathering and extend support to Lim’s candidacy.
Classmates at the SLS Batch 72 were also on hand to welcome Lim.
“I chose to register here in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya so I can go back to my roots and revisit my past as I embark on another chapter of my life,” he stressed.
Asked what political party he would belong, Lim he has yet to decide on the matter though he added the major opposition parties have all sent feelers saying he is welcomed in their ranks.
“I have been recieving many offers from all major opposition parties but I have not made a final decision as of today though I will definitely run for a major opposition party,” he added.
He explained that among the issues he will espouse are anti-corruption measures and reforms in the electoral process, education and the foreign debt servicing.
Regarding campaign funding, Lim admitted he does not have the resources compared to other candidates but said they should not belittle his candidacy citing the previous experience of the late former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino and Trillanes in 2007 when he run while under detention and little media exposure but still managed to get 11 million votes and secured a seat in the Upper Chamber.
“Politics has changed in this country and we all know there are candidates who have won without the 3 G’s of guns, goons and gold. It is not impossible for me to win,it can be done,”he said though he added it would be an uphill battle considering he is also in detention and might not be allowed to campaign.
He said he would depend on his relatives, supporters and friends to campaign for him adding they would also tap modern technology to spread his message just like what Trillanes had done in 2007.
He added he and his close friend, Marine Col. Ariel Querubin would be helping each other in the campaign.
The bemedalled Marine officer was earlier drafted by the Nacionalista Party (NP) of Senator Manuel Villar to run for the Senate in the 2010 elections.
But he said he is confident he will be out of detention by 2010 adding that he is being detained for “political acts” and a change in the country’s political landscape would result to his freedom.
“I am 100 percent sure I’ll be out of detention next year,” he said adding he want to be the province second Senator after the late Leonardo Perez who served in the Senate from 1963 to 1967.
At the same time, he minced no words when he warned those would repeat the alleged election cheating in the 2004 election saying that they will be consigned to the dustbin of history and condemnation by the people.
“If my votes are tampered, I say shame on those who will do that. It can happen (election cheating) but they better think twice,” he said even as he lambasted the Arroyo administration for “prostituting the Armed Forces of the Philippines”. A number of officials, notably former AFP Chief Hermogenes Esperon, was mentioned in the “Hello Garci” tapes which exposed the participation of military officials in rigging in favor of Gloria Arroyo the results of the 2004 elections.
Lim is currently detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame along with Trillanes and the Magdalo officers.
The two led a group of Magdalo soldiers who walked out of a court hearing in another Makati court on November 2007 and seized the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati where they holed up for several hours while calling for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. They later surrendered when government forces stormed the hotel.
They were charged with rebellion by the Department of Justice (DOJ) before the Makati court. Lim was relieved of his post after figuring in the attempted coup in February 24, 2006 along with Querubin.
A West Point graduate, Lim was a bemedalled combat officer who participated in the December 1989 coup attempt against the Aquino administration.
He became the founding chairman of the Young Officers Union (YOU), a group of reformist officers but has now joined the ranks of the Magdalo group.