Lim-Domagoso word war escalates
The “fireworks” went off a day early for Araw ng Maynila.
On the eve of the city’s founding anniversary, Manila Vice Mayor Francisco Domagoso and 23 councilors trooped to the police station on Saturday accusing Mayor Alfredo Lim of threatening them in a speech delivered late Friday afternoon.
It was the latest chapter in the word war between the former allies over Lim’s cost-cutting measures that led to the dismissal in March of over 1,000 contractual or casual City Hall employees hired by the council and Domagoso’s office.
Domagoso, a former movie actor also known as Isko Moreno, said Lim allegedly made the menacing remarks before a gathering of policemen and village officials at Century Park Sheraton Hotel in Malate.
In a report to PO3 Gilbert Isole at the Manila Police District headquarters, the vice mayor said several barangay leaders present in that program told him that Lim alluded to Domagoso and his allies when he made the following statements in Filipino:
“If they want a fight, I can give them one. Do they want me to wish them ill whenever I go to sleep? … It’s as if they won’t die like everyone else.”
Domagoso said he wanted the incident to be placed on record because “our families were concerned for our safety” and that their lawyers were studying the possibility of filing a criminal complaint against Lim for grave threats.
It was simply “a precautionary measure,” the vice mayor later told reporters.
He said Lim’s remarks struck him and the councilors as a threat because “we know how he is. He gives a shoot-to-kill order and several days after, we know what happens.”
Lim is a former chief of the Manila police who earned the moniker “Dirty Harry” for his controversial law enforcement methods.
Reached for comment, Lim maintained that he was simply using figures of speech to describe people who had done wrong yet still able to put on a straight face.
“Am I that crazy to threaten anyone in front of the police and other government officials? I should be arrested on the spot if I committed a crime. Besides, I am not in the habit of making threats,” he said.
He said what he actually told the gathering was: “You have the gall to malign a person’s reputation as if you won’t die like everyone else.”
“That was the context of what I was saying. I was telling them that if they are going to destroy somebody’s reputation, they might as well stick to the truth,” Lim said.
“I cannot understand,” he added. “They claimed that they were threatened yet they would not execute a sworn statement and just had everything written on the blotter. Is that the reaction of someone who is really scared?”
He dismissed Domagoso’s report to the police as “foolish” and a mere diversionary tactic.
“Maybe they’re afraid not because of me but because of the ‘ghosts’ they are hiding,” the mayor said, reviving his allegation that the vice mayor and his allies in the council kept bogus employees in their payroll.
This latest skirmish came two days after a Manila court ruled in favor of a group of dismissed employees who demanded the release of their salaries withheld since April as a result of Lim’s order.
In a ruling hailed by Domagoso’s camp, the court also described Lim’s order as invalid and contrary to law. This was despite Lim’s explanation that he was merely acting on a memo from the Commission on Audit saying City Hall overspent for personal services by P1.1 billion last year.
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