MANILA, Philippines - Col. Antonio Ramon "Sonny" Lim, who corroborated allegations of corruption in the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), is an officer of “good standing", a Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesman said Thursday.
“He is a seasoned pilot, instructor pilot… At this point, he performs his job kasi katatapos lang niyang maging commander sa Tactical Operations Group IX sa Jolo ,” said PAF spokesman Lt. Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol.
A member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1986, Lim studied at the PAF Flying School for 2 years and then served as an instructor pilot from 1988 to 1995.
He served various positions at the Air Force headquarters at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City before being assigned to the office of the AFP deputy chief of staff for logistics from 1999-2004.
It was there that he met budget officer Lt. Col. George Rabusa, who served under military comptrollers Jacinto Ligot and Carlos Garcia and participated in the alleged diversion of military funds to military chiefs.
In 2005, Lim was assigned with the 532nd Aerodrome Operations Squadron and took up the Command and General Staff Course three years later. He then served as the commander of the Tactical Operations Group IX in Sulu.
The now 46-year-old Lim is currently assigned as the Director for Operations of the PAF’s 3rd Air Division stationed in Zamboanga City.
“He is a member of good standing in the Philippine Air Force. …He performs his job. I have no information that would say otherwise,” said Okol.
After the Senate furnished Lim an invitation for him to appear during the Senate inquiry, Okol said the officer requested for clearance from the Air Force leadership. He said the request was promptly granted.
When asked if Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena had instructions to Lim when he granted his request, Okol said: “None really. There was no special instructions from the commanding general except to answer the questions. Whatever he needs to say in the Senate, there is no (problem with that).”
In his testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, Lim said he helped Rabusa prepare the cash disbursements for military chiefs from the so-called Provision Command-Directed Activity (PCDA) slush fund. The Air Force officer also corroborated Rabusa's testimony that the latter kept 4 big vaults full of cash in his office.
Lim said he went to the Department of Justice on Wednesday to apply under the Witness Protection Program and for immunity from lawsuits. He said he does not know the status of his application, as he appealed for the protection from the lawmakers themselves.
He said the security of his family as well as his remaining 9 years in the Air Force kept him from coming out earlier.