Saturday, April 17, 2010



QUESTION: The fact that you are a Western-trained officer has prompted not a few people to ask why you had to sacrifice a promising career for a coup attempt. Why did you join the last mutiny?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: Purely out of idealism and a sincere desire to see a better lot for our country and people, I actively joined the November 30 movement. I firmly believe in the urgency, relevance, validity and righteousness of the cause of reform and good government which the movement sought and is seeking to achieve. It is true that with my background and past accomplishments, even with mediocre performances for the rest of my military life, my rise up the ladder may not be too precipitous. A promising career for me, however, means nothing if the very institutions upon which such career rests is riddled with so much graft and corruption, personal interests and aggrandizement, incompetence, and vindictiveness and have become willing tools of oppression and exploitation instead of being instruments of our people’s liberation from existing societal ills. I cannot in conscience let this maladministration improve my standing and enjoy all the benefits it could provide while our people suffer in contrast. My heart bleeds at the sight of every malnourished waif, of every Madonna (in tattered garments) and child in arm, hands stretched out for alms. I cry everytime I see the ubiquitous and stark faces of poverty, injustice and misery being experienced by so many even as the few who wallow in luxury hunger for more. I have already come to a point where my personal career is already dependent on and subordinate to the collective career of our people and the national career of our nation.

The ideals of nationalism, reform and good government vis-a-vis the actual conditions prevalent in our country to which I have long been exposed in the countrysides compel me and my comrades to undertake the November 30 movement. My western training has little to do with my joining in the struggle except perhaps for my learning the historical experiences and lessons of western countries that have achieved their present status through the struggles and sacrifices of their heroes and leaders for the sake of nationalism, reform and good government.

Q: What drove you to the rebellious faction in the AFP? Were you just casually recruited or did you - like most - undergo a long process of politicization? Could you trace the root of your involvement in the cause?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: The Filipino soldier has always been criticized as one who does not have full clarity and understanding of what he is fighting for, though he fully knows what he is fighting against and whom he is fighting. We have always been asked questions on this regard. If the communist rebels have a cause and an ideology that build their commitment to struggle unselfishly and with utmost dedication; then, on the other hand, to what cause and ideology is the Filipino soldier dedicated to? And why are Filipinos fighting and killing one another? Frankly, this criticism and questions are evident in the present insurgency war the AFP is waging against the communist rebels and they are very valid. These criticism and questions mostly forces the Filipino soldier to examine himself and his surroundings and reflect on his struggle. The very question of why we haven’t overcome the problem of communism since the 1930’s, since the 1960’s, for instance, has compelled us into examining the root causes of communism and the conditions favorable to its growth and development. Sadly, the end result of such examination directly indicts the status quo, the government, and the very institutions that we are in. So what must we do about it?

As Filipino citizens and as Filipino soldiers, we then realized that if we have somehow contributed to the maladministration, then the only honorable thing to do as a sincere gesture of remorse and restitution is a thorough change of the heart and mind which must be concretely translated into action by becoming an active part of the solution to the problem.

My politicization and my joining the nationalist movement in the AFP are natural consequences of my long exposure to the countrysides and endless discussions with my fellow soldiers and with the people. More importantly, it is a product of profound self-examinations I have undergone after having literally spilled blood fighting the “enemies” of our country and people. Recruitment, therefore, in a case such as mine, only becomes the finishing touches to an already constructed house. Even in the absence of the involved group to enlist me, inevitably soon, I and other genuinely concerned individuals surely would have organized such group, do the recruitment, then lead the movement ourselves. Why to the rebellions faction of the military organization? Because it is the only organization within the military establishment which is openly, consistently and sincerely advocating and fighting for nationalism, reform and good government! xxx

Q: Why did you join only last December, and not in earlier coup attempts against the government?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: I have always hoped that the incumbent national leadership would rose from slumber, reform itself and become more sensitive to the demands, grief and sufferings of our people in order to adequately address them. Prior to the November 30 movement, I came to realize the futility of any other softer approaches less than a military exercise. While at first, I believed that the cause of nationalism, reform and good government could be achieved through the usual channels and processes, events prior to November 30, 1989 have proven otherwise. xxx It is only through a military exercise, the only language they could understand, that the regime could be jolted from its enjoyment and be forced to face reality.

The ideals and cause of nationalism, reform and good government could not be delivered to us in a silver platter. These must be actively fought for! If the present regime refuse to heed the Filipino people’s cries, then the Filipino people, with their soldiers must do something to compel it to act accordingly.

Q: Could you cite some military officers who were instrumental in your political growth?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: Military officers who politicized me? Well, General Gregorio del Pilar, General Antonio Luna, General Emilio Aguinaldo, etc.. All those military officers who gallantly fought against the forces of Spanish, American and Japanese colonialism and imperialism. My comrades-in-arms in the AFP - all of them were instrumental. xxx

Q: Looking back, why do you think did the December mutiny fail? Where did it go wrong?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: In terms perhaps of easing out personalities in the administration, the November 30 movement failed. In other aspects, there were victories. The message delivered was loud and clear. Not a single square inch of real estate occupied by us was recovered by government forces. They never took back Makati! It was not overran, recaptured or conquered - we went back to barracks!

Generally, any uprising no matter how militarily superior could never completely succeed without the mass support of the people for whom the uprising is undertaken. Coups d’etat, mutinies, or military exercises now seen to be irrelevant to Philippine conditions. What is needed is a Nationalist Revolution where the Filipino masses will rise up with the Philippine military providing the spark and the armed might. The essence of a Coup Cum Revolution - People’s uprising.

The direct interference of foreign imperialist forces, as manifested by the so-called “US persuasion flights,” which were not really persuasive but destructive and annihilative, have greatly contributed to the eventual stalling of the November 30 movement. Of course there were other factors like the failure to fully explain to the people the causes and nature of the exercise. But the basics will always be the factors of mass support and foreign intervention. xxx

Q: How do you regard traditional politicians? And how do you view the involvement of Marcos loyalists in last December’s operation?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: Traditional politicians, to a large extent, constitute one of the factors why the country finds itself in this present state of mess. They are products of our political culture and our present political systems. While I abhor traditional politics, the politics of personalism, individualism, patronage and opportunism, still, my comrades and I do not abhor traditional politicians. No one has a monopoly of that rectitude of conduct, nationalism, reform and good government and all have the capacity for reforms. I believe even our traditional politicians are still capable of embracing nationalist revolutionary politics. For the moment, this is how we regard them. In the future, it depends on their actual reformation and internalization of Filipinism as the essence of Philippine Politics. Their relevance to our struggle and to the Philippine society depends on this.

The “Marcos loyalist” angle of the November 30 movement is the handiwork of the regime’s propagandists who are at a loss for valid and sound reasons to explain the magnitude of soldiers’ participation in the exercise. The soldiers who joined the November 30 movement were motivated by the cause and ideals of nationalism, reform and good government and not by any personal loyalties, interest or mercenary motives. The “Marcos Loyalist” syndrome died and got buried with the former president. It’s funny, it was and it is still being resurrected and given substance by the present regime itself which creates its own spectre.

Q: Foremost in the public mind today is the fact that all the past six coup attempts against this government have failed. What drives the soldiers to mount coups which never succeed?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: As long as the ideals of nationalism, reform and good government, of national and social liberation, of genuine freedom, democracy, justice, progress and peace are not won and enjoyed by the Filipino people, then nothing can stop the soldiers and people in their struggle to achieve these ends.

In essence, there have been no failed coups. Every attempt has been a dress rehearsal, a lesson and an experience for another. Each attempt is also a progression and an improvement of the other. There is now in the process of development a design where a simple coup becomes a revolution; where a simple defensive act becomes a mass uprising. We do not join an exercise with the intention to fail but with a determination to drive our point and eventually win. Today, we now realize the necessity of a revolution and mass support of the CCR/PU.

Q: Given the chance, will you join a seventh attempt?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: I will not join any seventh coup attempt, nor any coup attempt of the traditional mode for that matter! But the Nationalist Revolution must be won and I would unselfishly offer to the altar of sacrifice all of myself for the success of this revolution. I am in the Revolution. NO SA KUDETA! YES SA REBOLUSYON!

Q: Have you any prior knowledge on the post-coup government had the last coup succeed? To your knowledge, what was the envisioned set-up (government/leadership) and did you wholeheartedly approve it?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: Of course, all those who joined the November 30 movement knew the objectives, plans and designs had the exercise been consummated successfully. It would not look good for any soldier who actively participated not to have any knowledge of the direction the exercise would take.

The November 30 movement envisions the establishment of a National Governing Council (NGC) which will essentially be a collective, multisectoral, and transitional kind of government which would steer the country in the proper direction, put the house in order and place the foundations of reforms and good government in solid grounds. Then some few months after everything has been well-anchored, the NGC will conduct the freest, most honest, genuinely impartial and democratic elections for would-be leaders of this nation.

As a professional soldier, I firmly support the idea that the Armed Forces is the guardian of reform, good government, and democracy; sometimes it becomes a catalyst or trailblazer as the situation warrants. In as much as the November 30 movement envisioned noble objectives, then I view that military exercise as a concrete manifestation of this idea.

Q: Why did you “return to barracks?” What were the agreements reached with Brig. Gen. Enrile during the talks? Why did you not choose to escape instead, like Maj. Purugganan, or was it beyond you to decide?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: We marched back to barracks because we have already proven our point; we have driven the message. The Makati incident is a manifestation of our strong determination to the cause of nationalism, reform, and good government and our belief in achieving this through ways without bloodshed if possible. We left Makati because the regime and its mercenary generals were determined to recapture it at all cost regardless of anything. They were determined to risk the annihilation of their very own soldiers and kill civilians who were caught in the crossfire. They even fired indiscriminately at journalists, Red Cross volunteers and tourists we have begun evacuating. They were determined to destroy all those buildings and infrastructures. Though we were determined on our part to put up a good fight to the last drop of our blood, we refused, however, to unnecessarily sacrifice civilian lives who may be caught in the crossfire. We did not want to see the infrastructures blown to pieces and levelled to the ground in the course of the hostilities, and the eventual collapse of our economy and the financial district. We also could not stomach shooting at our fellow comrades-in-uniform who were there only because they have been cowed by their mercenary superiors. Those soldiers were not our real enemies. They were used as pawns and shields of those who must pay for all these maladministration in our society.

Considering our strong defensive positions, the choke points we had under control and the vantage positions occupied by our sharpshooters we could have easily inflicted a lot more casualties and caused extensive damages have we wanted to, look at the kinds of gunshot wounds suffered by their casualties during the Makati fighting and you’ll see that they were all wounds on the legs and extremities, nothing fatal. The shots were deliberately aimed and fired not to kill but only to disable.

In order to avoid unnecessary bloodshed and destruction, we have decided to return to barracks and take all the responsibilities due our actions.

To facilitate the execution of this decision, we have accepted the offer of Brig. Gen. Enrile to help in the implementation. We have agreed that soldiers who have participated in the Makati incident would return to their barracks and be confined there until such time as proper changes would be filed against them. It was a gentlemen’s agreement. But unfortunately, it was breached and disregarded by the mercenary authorities. Immediately, the officers were separately detained without any formal charges including the soldiers. If these so called national military leaders could not honor the agreement they have entered into with their very own soldiers, how much more will they remain faithful to their duties and responsibilities to the Filipino people?

Escape was never in my mind because I had responsibilities to my comrade-soldiers. I had to be with them at all cost. Maj. Abraham Purugganan had no choice except to escape because of compelling reasons that would even cost his life. He could not join his comrade-soldiers even though he really wanted to. Moreover, there has to be someone out there to continue the struggle in a different front and to ensure also our ranks and our welfare.

The struggle must go on. Maj. Purugganan has to continue it by eluding arrest. We have to continue the struggle by returning to barracks. Even now, the detention center is one venue wherein which to heighten the struggle.

Q: The YOU has emerged as a nationalist group of junior officers which claims to be different from the RAM. As a junior officer yourself, are you able to identify yourself with this group? What do you think of their espousal of their so called “Nationalist Revolution?”

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: I am with the Young Officers Union (YOU). Its emergence is an answer to the call of the prevailing situation. It is somewhat different from the RAM as YOU’s ranks are composed of junior officers and young soldiers mostly 35 years and below. YOU emphasizes a comprehensive approach to tackle the general problems of Philippine society and its clarity on ideological, political and organizational lines of work would perhaps delineate it from the RAM. Though both have the same visions of reform and good government, there are, however, some parameters that demarcate the lines between the two organizations. They are our Kuyas and we are their younger brothers and as all brothers we have different views, ways and means, and ideas in the same manner that we share the same vision and direction. RAM has emerged as conditions warranted then; YOU now emerges as compelled by the current conditions. We can liken their birth to the emergence of the LA LIGA FILIPINA and the KATIPUNAN. While different problems need different solutions, all problems need all the necessary solutions.

Of course, it is only through a Nationalist Revolution that the Filipino people can truly achieve national and social liberation. It is the only means to end our people’s eco-socio-political bondage.

Q: They have chided the RAM for the “political interest” that marked the December coup as well as past “misadventures.” They said they have abandoned conventional coups as tactic. Have you undergone the same assessment of the whole situation?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: Every organization has its own weaknesses and mistakes. As brother organizations it is the responsibility of one to criticize the errors and mistakes of the other. More importantly, we can learn from them especially so that they have been there long before we were born. Mistakes and weaknesses won’t be repeated if errors are rectified so they are avoided in the future. “Kung nauntog ka sa una, yuyuko ka na sa pangalawa.” The same is true even with regards to tactics and strategies. The experiences encountered by the soldiers since 1985 and all the past coups have compelled us to abandon and reject all things that obstruct or hinder the realization of National and social liberation. Not involving myself in this analysis, assessment and the summing up of all previous experiences and not adopting to present conditions means the stop of my growth and development. I, as much as anybody, have to progress. Only those who are well entrenched in power and wealth do not want us to progress because it would mean their near end.

Conventional or traditional coups are now passe’. The compelling necessity which Philippine conditions dictate is a Nationalist Revolution. There has to be a radical transformation of the society in order that genuine freedom, democracy, justice progress and peace could be fully attained. Only then could there be good government and the realization of meaningful reforms. In such Nationalist Revolution, misadventures must have no place and political interests are subordinated to the collective interest of the Filipino

Q On what conditions are you willing to give up the struggle and work within the system?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: The moment the system negates itself and is able to respond to the grievances of our people and to address the root causes of societal ills; the moment the AFP is transformed into an instrument of liberation from being a tool of oppression and foreign control; the moment the agenda of genuine freedom, justice, democracy, progress and peace, of meaningful reforms and good government, and of national and social liberation become concrete programs as proven by practice and action, then the struggle has been won. I can then work within the operating system. But I will never give up the struggle because even if certain goals are already achieved, certainly there will always be new, bigger and higher goals to pursue.

Q: Anti-imperialism seems to set well within the ranks of the junior officers. Are you anti-imperialist and if so, how come, considering your western schooling?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: I am a Filipinist! I firmly believe that the Philippines and all its resources - natural, human, spiritual etc. belong primarily to the Filipino nation and people to develop and enjoy. The Filipinos must be supreme in all aspects of their national life - in politics, in the economy, in culture, in the military, etc. and this supremacy should never be surrendered to the foreigners. Filipinism is basically non-communist and anti-imperialist.

That I attended West Point, a Western school does not affect my being pro-Filipino. Western schooling does not necessarily derange ones thinking into embracing lines of imperialism and western culture. Dr. Jose Rizal, our foremost nationalist and an anti-colonialist was educated in the west. Gen. Antonio Luna, Marcelo Del Pilar and other nationalists of their times were educated under Spanish tutelage. The likes of Don Claro Mayo Recto, Hilarion Henares Jr., Renato Constantino, Sr., And Alejandro Lichauco were all educated in western institutions and were exposed to western traditions and culture yet they became nationalist and staunch anti-imperialists. I am just one among the many who had the opportunity to experience foreign exposure. But of course, there are those who have been deeply miseducated and deeply colonialized that they have become willing tools of foreign control and denomination like Mrs. Aquino and Mr. Ramos.

The nationalistic and anti-imperialistic fervor of the Filipino soldiers is developed from exposures to hardships and depravity in the cities as well as in the countrysides. As they reflect on the conditions they experience and observe, and as they examine the root causes of poverty, insurgency and various crises our nation is experiencing particularly the anti-insurgency and anti-seccessionist wars they have been waging, they perceive their own ideological weakness. After they have been aroused and awakened into embracing the necessities in resolving all our societal ills, the soldiers eventually become committed to nationalism and Filipinism.

Q: Do you consider the communist rebels as enemies? Do you dread the thought of a coalition government with them in the future?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: The communist and seccessionist rebels are also Filipinos. In every battlefield encounter in the countrysides and even in urban areas Filipino lives are lost. As I see comrade-soldiers killed in firefights and as equally gallant communist or seccessionist rebels fall in battle the disturbing question, “why are we Filipinos fighting and killing one another?” always come to mind.

After an objective consideration of all things, I consider the communist rebels fellow Filipinos, fellow rebel Filipinos and not as enemies. They are not our real enemies. Our real enemy is imperialism and all those who obstruct meaningful reforms and good government.

Of course, our call upon the communist rebels is to lay down their dogmatic application of foreign solutions to Philippine problems, their class struggle which will divide rather than unite the Filipino people, and their Marxist-Leninist-Mao-Zedong concepts and thinkings that are not really relevant and cannot be adopted to Philippine realities, prevailing objective conditions and settings. At present, we do not ask them to lay down their arms, but to lay down their foreign ideology; renounce it and instead embrace Filipinism, and then together we can fight the real enemy.

It is only when they have discarded their foreign ideology and embraced Filipinism can we unite tactically and strategically so that our vision of national and social liberation can be fully achieved.

Q Has detention tamed or mellowed you down? Are you a changed man from the time you holed out at Hotel Intercon and now that you are facing court martial proceedings?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: There’s no taming or mellowing down when we talk of commitment and dedication to Filipinism and the Filipino people even if one is in detention or undergoing trial. On the other hand, detention and court martial have further strengthened my resolve, commitment and faith that the struggle must go on and the service to our people continue on unbended knees.

From Hotel Intercon to the detention center and the court martial proceedings I have changed. I have developed as a person, progressed further and have remained even more determined and committed. I have changed for the better and not for the worst because of these experiences..

Q: The government seems bent on pinning you (and the rest of the military officers) down. Has it ever crossed your mind that you could be behind bars at least for as long as this government is in power? Do you dread that thought?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: Of course, these thoughts have crossed my mind and I’m sure the minds of the others similarly situated too. If this is the price to pay for our liberation struggle, fight for justice, democracy, progress and peace, then so be it! But as I have said, these thoughts instead of weakening have strengthened our resolve even more. The present regime cannot forever cow, detain, imprison or kill the ideas and cause of nationalism, reform and good government. It cannot forever suppress the rebellion, much more the revolution.

The detention is only temporary. Our spirit lives on and the iron bars and walls are things, temporary that will soon break down together with this regime and the shackles fastened by its foreign master.

Q: What do you think of the ongoing trial against you and 20 other military officers? Do you still have hope in the judicial system?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: Our trial is a travesty in the manner of Rizal’s and Bonifacio’s trials. We have already been publicly tried and convicted. I discern a grand design to dispense a tainted and dictated brand of justice for one cannot really expect independent judgments from appointees of the mercenary leadership in the military and the present regime. They are there precisely to carry out the will and satisfy the whims and caprices of the appointing authorities. After observing the conduct of the members of our court martial, their single-track mind, insensitivity, and impervious attitude to reason, in denying every important and substantial defense motion no matter how meritorious to the detriment of justice and fairness, I am all the more convinced that while defending oneself is an inherent right of any accused before a bar of justice, in an atmosphere of sham and pretension it would merely be an exercise in futility. While the trial is being conducted in a semblance and facade of democratic processes, it is in essence a Kangaroo Court.

Our charges are multiplied and magnified and are not in accordance with existing jurisprudence nor commensurate to the act. We are even being charged with multiple counts of murder and frustrated murder even if the highest court of the land has already rendered its final verdict on the Complex issue!

An impartial and responsible judicial system can only flourish under a regime of genuine freedom, democracy, justice, progress and peace. It is only when our politics, economy and culture are genuinely free and genuinely Filipino can our Judicial system function properly. xxx

Q: Any regrets for having joined the mutiny? Do you honestly envision yourself still as a military officer in the future

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: Regrets are only for those who joined the November 30 movement for any other reasons other than reform, good government and genuine national liberation. Joining the November 30 movement was a noble act, a moral duty and responsibility of every Filipino soldier. I have no regrets whatsoever!

I am a military officer now and would like to still be one in the future. I am a soldier of the Filipino people and an officer of the Army of the Filipino people. But my being a soldier and an officer is of little consequence for me now. My firm resolve to serve the Filipino people through the revolutionary struggle does not hinge on my being in uniform or not. My being in the profession of arms is only incidental. What matters is for me to continue serving the people through any way possible.

Q: Do you believe in civilian supremacy over the military? How do you reconcile this with the deep involvement of the military in current political affairs?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: Of course I believe in civilian supremacy and I don’t see any conflict of this belief with what we have undertaken and will continue to undertake. The military establishment as an institution exists for the benefit of the people, the supreme authority in the state.

As the military is part of the government and has been an integral part of the constitution and the nation’s body-politic, it is in essence inherently political. The soldiers are citizens too and therefore have the right and responsibility to participate in the political affairs of the society. They too have the right and duty to revolt when the very administration supposed to serve the people as mandated by the supreme law continuously refuse to fulfill its covenant with the people.

We are only doing our constitutional role of being the protector of the state and

Q: Do you have any other leader in mind? Are you willing to go back mainstream provided the present AFP leadership is overhauled? What is your concept of a military leadership?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: My opinion on any other leader is irrelevant as leaders emerge out of necessary conditions and by consent of the would-be constituents.

It is no longer a question of overhauling the AFP leadership. It is a matter of radical restructuring of the society of which the military and its leadership form but a part. In line with this, only when the entire system negates itself will I reintegrate myself.

Military leadership should first and foremost be ideological. It must lead an AFP that is genuinely an Army of the Filipino people, an instrument of liberation, a citadel of patriotism and nationalism, a bulwark of Filipino identity and values, and forever loyal to the Filipino

Q: What is in store for the Armed Forces in the future, Captain? Is there hope for this government and for this country, for that matter?

CAPT. DANILO D. LIM: It is inevitable for the Armed Forces to be nationalist, to be Filipinist, to be pro-people and revolutionary.

As the government is the people, certainly there is hope for the government. As for this curse of a regime, there is non... Unless it decides to lead the revolution.

For this country, hope is as bright as the sun at its brightest.

YOU Detention 1st Cell/YOU Camp Crame 4th Collective (YDIC/YCC4C)
Young Officers Union - Kasapi,Aklasan ng Kabataang Lakas ng Sambayanang Pilipino

July 1, 1990
Camp Crame, Quezon City

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi. There is a film competing in Cinemalaya called PINK HALO-HALO which is a story of a young boy whose father is a soldier whom he sees wounded and crying for help on national television. This is reminiscent of what happened to Corporal Abeto.

You might be interested.

the link to the trailer is here: