MANILA, JULY 7, 2007
(STAR) By Joanne Rae Ramirez - Newly sworn-in Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim is 77 years old and seven months this month, a piece of trivia not lost on the former cop.

He also marked his first day of office on the seventh month of the year.

At a lunch hosted for Lim by the Philippine STAR and People Asia magazine recently, the former senator also said he was born on a year whose last two numbers — 2 and 9— add up to 11.

“When you throw the dice and it comes up at 7 and 11, you win. Isn’t that a lucky combination, 7-11?” he asked, making US Ambassador Kristie Kenney quip, “The numbers add up for Fred Lim!”

The fixation on the number seven came up as the world today marks the calendar date 7/7/7 — which many consider a lucky number. In most casinos the world over, for instance, only the combination 777 gives one a jackpot on the slot machines.

Christians consider 7 the perfect number, because it unites 4, which symbolizes woman, and 3, which symbolizes man. Jesus, according to the Gospel of Luke, was the 77th in a direct line.

But having won the Manila mayoralty on his 77th year doesn’t make Lim believe that good luck is enough.

“There is track record and hard work,” said Lim, who lost 15 pounds during the campaign for May 14 elections.

He says he does not expect all Manilans to welcome his election — there are people who resent his campaign against crime, especially drug pushing.

Rounding up drug lords is his first order of battle. His controversial spray-painting of drug lords’ dens during his first two terms from 1992 to 1998 resulted in a marked decline in drug-related criminal activities, says Lim. He said he would pursue drug lugs with the same intensity.

Lim also led another controversial campaign to rid Manila of its Red-Light district in the Ermita area during his first term.

Special guest during the lunch was Kenney, whose embassy Lim assured full protection even as both Kenney and him agreed that anti-Americanism has simmered down in the Philippines.

Also present during the lunch were Philippine STAR editor-in-chief Isaac Belmonte, People Asia president Kevin Belmonte and publisher Babe Romualdez, STAR EVP Grace Glory Go, the US Embassy’s Joseph Tilghman, Weber Shandwick Philippines’ Norbert Garret and Manila City Prosecutor Joseph Lopez.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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