Road rage suspect in Cebu City surrenders to regional police
CEBU CITY—It took a top Palace official’s intervention to bring in a road rage suspect here, scion of one of the city’s wealthiest families, in a surrender arrangement that caught city police and officials by surprise.
While most Cebuanos slept, David Lim Jr. turned himself in to the regional police at 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
Lim was identified as the driver of a Mercedes Benz who shot and wounded nurse Ephraim Nuñal on a narrow street here. He is a nephew of businessman Peter Lim, who had met with Mr. Duterte to deny that he was the drug lord Peter Lim that the President had named.
The road rage suspect was detained at the Philippine National Police Regional Intelligence Division (RID) in Camp Sergio Osmeña, headquarters of the Provincial Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO 7), instead of the stockade of the city police office, which is investigating the road rage case. He was moved later to the city police stockade.
Accompanied by mother
Lim was accompanied by his mother, Bebong, two relatives and lawyer Orlando Salatandre Jr. when he went to the office of Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, Central Visayas regional director (RD).
Taliño, in a text message, informed Secretary Bong Go, special assistant to the President, about the surrender. Go, who was with Mr. Duterte in Bangkok, forwarded Taliño’s text to reporters in Davao City.
Taliño’s text, according to what Go forwarded, read: “Sir good am. Please be informed that David Lim Jr., the road rage suspect, has surrendered to RD-PRO 7 at around 2 a.m., March 21. 2017 at PRO 7 accompanied by his mother Bebong, two relatives and lawyer Jun Salatandre.”
“He is currently under my custody at RID pending the filing of the case in court. FYI sir,” it added.
In an interview with a TV network on Tuesday morning, Taliño admitted that Lim was staying in his office at PRO 7 while charges were being readied against him.
On Monday night, Taliño told reporters that he was asked by PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa to coordinate with Secretary Go for the surrender of Lim. Go had apparently advised Lim’s mother to surrender her son.
“Sir Bong, the family decided to follow your advice to surrender my son David Lim Jr. to the regional commander Chief Supt. Noli Taliño tomorrow (Tuesday),” said a text message from Bebong to Go that the latter forwarded to reporters.
“Please help us facilitate his surrender and safety—Mrs. Lim,” it said.
Go’s businessman friend
How was Lim’s mother able to reach out to Go?
In Bangkok, Go, who denied personally knowing the Lim family, said Davao-based businessman Peter Go brought to his attention the concerns of Lim’s mother.
“Peter Go called because he wanted a friend—Mrs. Lim who asked for help on what to do with her son. So, Mrs. Lim called me up and I advised her to surrender her son asap to the RD of the PNP and assured his safety,” the secretary said. He was referring to Taliño.
He said there was nothing more in his gesture but goodwill. “I just showed goodwill to help bring justice to the victim.”
Dela Rosa said it was “normal” for Lim’s mother to reach out to Go to facilitate her son’s surrender. “If that can be considered special treatment, then that special treatment becomes an advantage to us police because he surrendered,” he said.
The PNP chief said it was the continuous “hot pursuit” police operations that pressured Lim to surrender.
The Department of Justice has placed Lim on its travel bulletin.
Lim’s surrender was kept under wraps that even Senior Supt. Joel Doria, city police chief, was unaware of it.
Told by Cebu Daily News at 6 a.m. Tuesday that Lim had already surrendered, Doria said: “I didn’t know.”
Doria said that if procedure had been followed, Lim should have been detained at the city police stockade or the Mabolo police station, which has jurisdiction over the road rage scene.
Lim’s stay in jail, however, may be short-lived. His lawyer, Salatandre, said he would post bail once charges were filed in court.
Salatandre, in a press conference Tuesday, claimed Lim acted in self-defense.
He said video of the shooting, which had gone viral on social media, was edited to make it appear Lim was the aggressor.
“My client is very sober and calm,” said the lawyer, who gained fame for defending Ruben Ecleo Jr., a cult leader who remains at large after his conviction for the killing of his wife, Alona.
He said the full video recording should be presented to show that Lim was merely defending himself.
The video was taken by a dashboard camera of another motorist who witnessed the road rage. A clip showed Lim confronting Nuñal after Lim went back to his car to get his gun and shoot Nuñal twice.
It showed Lim and girlfriend, Tamae Takahashi, fleeing in the Mercedes Benz after the shooting.
Salatandre said it was not the complete story. Nuñal, the lawyer said, were with two other men who were “bigger” than Nuñal. Thinking that he might be overpowered by Nuñal’s two companions, Lim got a gun and fired to scare Nuñal and his two companions, Salatandre said. —WITH REPORTS FROM AND NESTOR CORRALES IN BANGKOK AND PHILIP C. TUBEZA AND MARLON RAMOS IN MANILA
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