David Lim Jr., businessman and scion of one of the prominent families in Cebu, spent two nights in jail before he was released Thursday, March 23, after posting bail of P144,000. Lim gained local and national attention after a footage of him shooting 33-year-old nurse Ephraim Nuñal four times, hitting the latter twice in the left thigh and right ankle, at dawn last Sunday went viral. "I just want to thank everyone who's been there for me, who supported me, who believed in me and most importantly, who prayed for me all this time," Lim said. "I just want to tell everyone that the truth shall prevail," he added.
The Cebu City Prosecutor's Office downgraded the case of frustrated murder to frustrated homicide around noon upon the recommendation of Assistant Cebu City Prosecutor Maria Theresa Casiño. "It lacks the qualifying circumstance in order to qualify as frustrated murder like treachery. There's no treachery," said Prosecutor Liceria LoFranco-Rabillas. Rabillas also answered Atty. Orlando Salatandre's claim that the processing of his client's case was delayed. Salatandre is Lim's counsel. "It's not true," she said. Sixty-five cases were filed last Tuesday, the day Lim's case was filed, she said. Casiño echoed her sentiment, saying there was no delay. "Those are baseless. The records will show. You have to understand the volume of the cases that our office receives everyday so it's not right that someone would go first if there's an individual who was slated to be the first," she said. Bail was set at P24,000 for frustrated homicide and P120,000 for the illegal possession of ammunition.
Flanked by his lawyers headed by Salatandre and relatives, Lim, in handcuffs, waited as the judges finished their hearings in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Qimonda to accommodate him. He was also accompanied by members of the Homicide Section of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO). RTC Branch 5 Judge Ricky Jones Macabaya handled Lim's frustrated homicide case while RTC Branch 9 Judge Alexander Acosta handled the possession of illegal ammunition case. Last Wednesday night, seven of his alleged bodyguards shooed away media members covering Lim. CCPO Director Joel Doria relieved SPO2 Jonathan Almendras, a police officer who was stationed in the detention cell, after failing to prevent the men from visiting Lim. Visiting hours in the CCPO are between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Before his release, Lim shared a detention cell with two gambling suspects in the CCPO stockade caught in the recent One Time Big Time operation. "There's no special treatment. I personally went there to check after receiving the report and relieved one of our officers because he allowed these private individuals to stay near the cell where Lim is detained," Doria said. Salantandre said that even if his client is out on bail, they will still take the defense stand. He promised that the P300,000 bounty for anyone who could produce a complete video footage of the shooting still stands. Lim insisted that a squabble erupted between him and Nuñal, who was with two friends. That prompted him to fire a warning shot. When Nuñal did not back down, he fire another, hitting the latter twice. Special Assistant to the President Christopher Bong Go facilitated his surrender last Tuesday. On the issue on whether Lim could leave the country, Salantandre said that they will seek court clearance as it is his client's right to travel. Police filed a separate case against Tamae Takahashi, Lim's girlfriend and companion during the road encounter. She will face charges for violating Article 275 of the Revised Penal Code, or the abandonment of a helpless person. Superintendent Ryan Devaras, chief of the Investigation and Management Branch of the CCPO, said that their case against Lim is still strong even though it has been downgraded.