Lim reminds me of Duterte -- Barbers

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said Monday that the late Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim reminds him of President Duterte.

"Like Digong, he (Lim) was a hardliner against criminals and illegal drugs," Barbers said as he recalled the exploits of the former multi-term mayor of the country's capital.

"Mayor Lim was a pioneer in the fight against criminality, especially drugs, among all elected officials. Siya lang naman nag umpisa noon. 'Yun ang tatak niya (He originated that, that was his signature)," he noted.

Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, added of Lim: "He was the President that we never had. He could have done wonders too like President Digong."

Lim, who passed away last Aug. 8, served as Manila mayor from 1992 to 1998, and again from 2007 to 2013.

Duterte first gained reputation as the worst nightmare of criminals and drug suspects during his lengthy tenure as Davao City mayor beginning in the late 1980s. 

The spotlight was easier to cast on Lim back then, being the top official in Manila.

But Barbers said both leaders were "ahead of their time" when it came to fighting the illegal drug menace.

"All the heinous crimes during his time in Manila were perpetrated by criminals under the influence of illegal drugs. This exasperated him," the congressman said of Lim, who became a "ninong" (godfather) in his wedding.

"In his attempt to rid and cleanse the city of Manila of drug criminals, he even resorted to shaming them by painting their houses. Sa akin OK 'yun (For me that's a good move), he went the extra mile to show his seriousness," he said.

Barbers was referring to Lim's so-called "scarlet letter campaign" in the mid-90s in which the mayor would paint in bold red letters warning signs outside the homes of suspected drug pushers so the public may keep away from them.

Lim tried to revive the tactic during his time as Department of Interior and Local Government secretary.

Sandwiched between his terms as Manila mayor was a stint at the Philippine Senate from 2004 to 2007. He is also a former National Bureau of Investigation chief.

"His sterling track record will surely be missed. Sana may makapantay or makalamang pa (Hopefully someone else gets to equal or surpass him)," Barbers said.