Erap's operators are destroying Gen. Danny Lim
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-03-03

The political operators of convicted former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada have been hyperactive lately in trying to promote a power triumvirate featuring Estrada, General Danilo “Danny” Lim and Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

This idea was first broached by Alejandro “Ding” Lichauco in his January 22 column in the Tribune (“Puno-Lim-Erap triumvirate: The political future”).

Then my Ateneo batch mate, Jose Luis “Linggoy” Alcuaz, went to town sending text messages that an important announcement will be posted on Gen. Danny Lim’s website. The much ballyhooed ‘important’ announcement turned out to be the posting of Ding Lichauco’s triumvirate proposal.

More text messages from Linggoy pertaining to Gen. Danny Lim followed — commentaries on the recent full page ad of active and retired military officers hailing Lim as their leader, announcements by the lawyer of Danny Lim and so forth. If you did not know any better, you’d get the impression that Gen. Danny Lim has already entered into a political partnership with Joseph Estrada.

My friend Linggoy has long been what Luigi Pirandello described as a character in search of an author. Linggoy can also be likened to the nowhere man of the Beatles song. He was with Cory Aquino then fought Cory Aquino. He fought Estrada and now works for Estrada.

Save for the salivating Estrada camp supporters, it is easy to see that the convicted former president no longer generates the same level of support that propelled him to the highest office of the land in 1998. Trying hard to be seriously considered as a 2010 presidential candidate, Estrada cannot top the SWS and Pulse Asia surveys the way he topped the 1998 surveys.

It’s doubtful if Supreme Court Chief Justice (CJ) Reynato Puno was ever consulted or formally invited to join the proposed triumvirate. If CJ Puno is eyeing the presidency — which he denies — then Estrada has to be considered a liability and not an asset to a campaign founded on the platform of moral leadership.

This Chair Wrecker would have assumed that Gen. Danny Lim was not also consulted except that his website posted the Lichauco triumvirate article. Now unless that website is operating without the consent or control of Gen. Danny Lim — the logical conclusion to be made is that there is indeed a Lim-Estrada political alliance.

If so, that would spell doom to Danny Lim’s hopes to become an alternative leader. Just look at the following premises which were laid out by that full page ad endorsing Danny Lim as an alternative leader:

1. Vision of a country of peace, progress and prosperity

2. Need to strengthen ranks against a ruthless enemy

3. Desire for a new breed of leaders

4. That Gen. Lim has the moral authority to lead

Is Estrada credible at all being associated with peace, progress and prosperity? He went into an all-out war against the MILF when the economic situation (during the fallout of the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997) dictated that we cannot afford a war. His corrupt leadership made the bad economic situation worse.

How does Estrada strengthen Lim’s ranks when he is an obvious liability? Estrada subtracts not adds to the ranks of Danny Lim’s political forces.

How can Danny Lim lay claim to represent a new breed of leaders and one who wields moral authority if he will have Joseph Estrada prominently pictured with him as a political partner?

Most people are aware of the saying that “Birds of the same feather flock together.” Parents never tire warning their children to avoid bad friends with this saying: “Show me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.” Danny Lim must seriously weigh just what Estrada erodes from his image.

Frankly, this Chair Wrecker does not buy the claim that the full page ad extolling the leadership of Danny Lim is intended to promote Lim’s Senate candidacy. If it is, then it is money wasted because it is too early for those aspiring to run for the Senate in 2010 to be floating their names and projecting a desired public image.

This Chair Wrecker sees that Danny Lim full page ad as a float for the highest plum to be won — the top executive post. It could also be a signal for something that is about to happen.

Potentially explosive political factors have emerged — the instability resulting from the current global economic crisis, the real risk of an all-out war in Mindanao with the MILF, the foolish drive to railroad Charter change and the clashing US-China interests in the Philippines. It doesn’t require a political genius to see the many possibilities that an out-of-the-box political situation can develop.

Thus, it stands to reason that the Lim full page ad could be an attempt to position for an out-of-the-box situation. It cannot be called though an attempt to promote an out-of-the-box situation. The ad does not call for a political upheaval. It merely floats and endorses Danny Lim as an option.

A Danny Lim partnership with CJ Puno has tremendous possibilities. CJ Puno would represent the vital element of civilian authority over the military. CJ Puno is also associated with moral leadership and strict adherence to legal means for attaining change and reform.

Three is a crowd — especially if Joseph Estrada is that third person.

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