REP. Benhur Salimbangon challenged yesterday his rival Celestino “Tining” Martinez to show a copy of his oath of office that he had used before House Speaker Prospero Nograles last Wednesday.

Martinez, he said, resorted to black propaganda to mislead the public that he had already won and got the support of Nograles.

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“Asa man ang iyang oath of office? Iyahang oath-taking fake. Anad na sila sa black propaganda. (Where is the copy of his oath of office? His oath-taking was fake. They are experts in black propaganda),” he added.

Sun.Star Cebu tried but failed to get Martinez’s comment on Salimbangon’s allegations.

Salimbangon said that, in a meeting with the Lakas-Kampi-CMD yesterday, President Gloria Arroyo assured that he is still the administration party’s official candidate for the fourth district of Cebu.

The Supreme Court (SC) recently declared Martinez as the winner in the 2007 elections.

Salimbangon filed a motion for reconsideration, which the SC denied with finality.

But Salimbangon said he still intends to file another motion for reconsideration.

Last Wednesday, Martinez claimed, though, that he already took his oath as a member of the House of Representatives before Nograles.

Nograles, when sought for reaction, claimed Martinez only took his oath as a member of the majority, the Lakas-Kampi-CMD. Martinez is a member of the Liberal Party.

Salimbangon yesterday expressed confusion with Nograles’ statement.

However, he said Arroyo gave him the assurance that he is still the party’s bet after the administration party’s meeting at the Edsa Shangrila Hotel.

“The president said there’s no way he can replace me and I should know if he had taken his oath to join the majority because I’m the chairman of Lakas in our district. If anybody wants to join then I should know,” Salimbangon said.

The purpose of the party’s meeting, he added, was to check how strong the group is.

Unlike other political parties, Lakas-Kampi-CMD is only fielding one candidate for every congressional district.

“They can’t join because they are (under) Liberal (party),” he said.

Also, Nograles informed him that Martinez needs to take oath at the Plenary to be considered a member of the House.

Salimbangon said that what the Martinezes will do now is immaterial since his constituents have already seen his performance.

“Immaterial ilang drama. Naa na na sa mga tawo who have witnessed my achievements. It all boils down to their decision to vote in the next elections,” he added.

Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura agreed.

“The people know who really won. We, in the fourth district, know that Benhur won. Ang mga Martinezes man ang nanikas (The Martinezes cheated),” he said.

Shimura, a former ally of the Martinezes, said he has not seen any development in the district under the political family’s term.

“Wa’y progress ang fourth district. Wa nakahatag sa benefits sa district. (The district did not see any progress),” Shimura added.

Medellin Mayor Ricky Ramirez said the status of the congressional district seat “doesn’t really amount to anything because the elections are a few months away.”

He added that political lines have already been drawn.

“I don’t see any major changes to occur with this recent development,” Ramirez also said in a text message. (RSA)