MANILA--Alfredo Lim, a former senator and multi-term Manila mayor whose tough stance on crime earned him the moniker "Dirty Harry," has passed away, his chief of staff, Ric de Guzman, confirmed on Saturday.
Lim was 90. No other details about his death were shared.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, who was once Lim's vice-mayor, said in a later press briefing that Lim died of COVID-19, but ABS-CBN News could not independently confirm Moreno's statement.
"Si dating mayor Alfredo Lim ay sumakabilang buhay na po dala ng pagkakaimpeksiyon niya sa COVID-19 ilang araw na po ang nakakaraan," he said.
"Ngunit hindi na rin kinaya ng kaniyang katawan at opisyal po siyang idineklara na sumakabilang-buhay kanina pong alas-5 ng hapon."
Lim was a member of the national police force for 30 years, according to his bio posted on the official Senate website.
He was appointed director of the National Bureau of Investigation in 1992, then was elected mayor of Manila later that year.
He was re-elected in 1995. He returned to the post in 2007 and served until 2013, when he lost to Joseph Estrada.
Lim was appointed Interior and Local Government secretary in 2000 under Estrada, the president at the time, before being elected senator in 2004.
Lim last figured prominently in politics when he threw his hat in the Manila mayoral race last year, competing with Estrada and Moreno.
Estrada, who beat Lim twice for Manila mayor, paid his respects to his political rival.
"Ako po ay nalulungkot sa pagpanaw ng isang magiting na Mayor ng Maynila, Mayor Alfredo Lim," said Estrada, a former president, in his Facebook post.
"Magkatunggali man kami sa pulitika, alam ko na iisa lang ang aming hangarin -- ang mabigyan ng magandang buhay ang mahihirap nating mga kababayan lalo na ang Masang Manilenyo."
"Hinding-hindi ka malilimutan ng Maynila. Rest In Peace, Mayor Lim!"
Malacañang extended its condolences to Lim's family, extolling Lim for his no-nonsense approach to law enforcement.
"The nation, particularly the City of Manila, remembers Mayor Lim for his tough stance against criminality and drugs. He left a legacy of law and order to his constituents," said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a statement.
Sen. Sonny Angara, meanwhile, remembered Lim as the first senator who extended help to his home province Aurora when it was hit by successive typhoons in 2004.
Born on Dec. 21, 1929, Lim received his Business Administration degree in 1951 at University of the East.
He became a member of the Philippine Bar in 1963.
In the mid-1980s, he was appointed director of the Western Police District and retired a major general.
Lim used to have a public service program in DZMM. He was accorded the number "8" as an honorary member of DZMM Radyo Patrol.