The Department of National Defense (DND) is mourning the death of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Danilo “Danny” Lim, a retired general and an elite Philippine Army scout ranger, on Wednesday. He was 65.
Lim died at around 8 a.m., according to Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
His death came just eight days after he announced on December 29, 2020 that he contracted COVID-19.
“With the passing of General Lim, the country lost an esteemed leader, who valued public service above all else. His vision, which he carried through from his beginnings as a young officer in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to his later years as a civilian public servant, was to uphold good governance and lead by example,” said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a statement.
After his military career, President Duterte appointed Lim as the MMDA chairman in 2017. He oversaw the agency’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“As chair of the NDRRMC [National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council] and NTF [National Task Force] Against COVID-19, I am grateful for General Lim’s support to our various inter-agency emergency response operations through the years,” Lorenzana said.
“I also convey my sympathies to General Lim’s loved ones and his colleagues at the MMDA. May he rest in peace,” he added.
Lim was a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Makatarungan” Class of 1978. He was a first year college student at the University of the Philippines when he took the PMA entrance exam, which he topped.
He was also a plebe or first year cadet at the PMA when he took the entrance exam at the West Point Academy of the United States military, which is one the world’s premier military academies in the world, where he also aced the exams.
After his graduation at the West Point Academy in 1978, he went back to the Philippines and took the Scout Ranger Course where he graduated on top of his class. He chose to be assigned to Jolo, Sulu, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists.
Lim was recruited into the rightist group, Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), in the 1980s where he became involved in the People Power Revolution.
He took part in a failed coup attempt during the administration of former president Corazon “Cory” Aquino in 1989 where military officials laid siege in Makati City from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6, 1989. He was jailed for two years until he was released during the administration of Fidel Ramos, who also approved his reinstatement in the military service in 1994.
On July 23, 2003, about 300 soldiers formed a new group called “Magdalo,” led by Navy Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes IV, and took over the Oakwood Premier service apartments in Ayala Center, Makati City. This eventually became known as the group’s first attempt at ousting then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo due to allegations of corruption, including in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Lim, then a captain, was among those charged with attempted coup d’etat and rebellion.
In November, 2007, Lim, along with fellow soldiers Trillanes, Nicanor Faeldon, and other military officials who were part of the Magdalo group, walked out of their trial for the 2003 Oakwood mutiny.
Lim and his comrades marched along the streets of Makati and laid siege at the Manila Peninsula Hotel as they renewed their demands for the resignation of Arroyo.
The Manila Peninsula siege again resulted in the incarceration of Lim until he was allowed to post bail in February, 2010.
Eventually, Lim was granted temporary freedom by the AFP in May, 2010, and an amnesty by the administration of then president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.