Ex-colonel Romeo Lim, key player in 1986 EDSA revolt, dies

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File photograph of retired Army colonel Romy Lim, taken when he was already a civilian and serving as consultant to senators and taking up various causes to improve communities. PHOTO COURTESY OF COL. ROMY LIM’S
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MANILA – Retired Col. Romeo Y. Lim, former chief of staff of the Army’s elite First Scout Rangers Regiment and key player in the 1986 Edsa Revolution, died on Oct. 15.

Lim, a recipient of the Gold Cross medal and Distinguished Service Star award, was mentor to many other officers who excelled in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including then Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim who is now Metro Manila Development Authority chairman.

Lim was chief of staff of then Brig. Gen. Felix Brawner, who headed the elite Army unit when the 1986 People Power revolt happened.

At the height of the bloodless revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship, Lim – with brilliant strategizing, psy-war, sheer courage and luck – helped prevent the First Scout Rangers Regiment (FSRR) from joining other pro-Marcos units.

This kept the highly-trained, highly-skilled Scout Rangers regiment based in Fort Bonifacio from providing support to Marcos’ forces.

At one point, Lim, in a telephone conversation, had bluffed then AFP chief Fabian Ver into instructing General Brawner to leave Malacañang and personally go to the FSRR headquarters because, according to Lim, none of the scout rangers would follow his orders to go to EDSA and disperse the crowd unless they were personally commanded by Brawner. It was, Lim explained later in an account, his way of extracting from possible harm’s way the superior officer he respected and admired; and so that Brawner could see for himself his by-then rebellious troops, who would not have taken orders to attack civilians.

The Marcos loyalists failed to put down the mutiny of top defense and military officials, including then defense chief Juan Ponce Enrile and then armed forces vice chief Fidel V. Ramos, who had occupied Camps Aguinaldo and Crame on EDSA.

On Feb. 25, 1986, Marcos, his family and close aides and cronies were forced to flee abroad and a new regime took power, ending two decades of Marcos rule, 14 years under an authoritarian order.

The Scout Ranger regiment, however, was later implicated in the failed 1989 coup against the then President Corazon Aquino and was disbanded as a result of this.

Lim, a native of Southern Leyte, also headed the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion in San Carlos City, where he won the people’s hearts and minds by building a hospital with funds donated by private individuals and labor provided by the battalion.

In 2003, then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo conferred on Lim the Gawad ng Kaunlaran award for his work on pro-people projects outside combat.

Lim’s remains lie at the Libingan ng mga Bayani chapel. Interment is scheduled at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21.