WHILE 4th District Rep. Benhur Salimbangon is waiting for the review of his request to place his district under Commission on Elections control, Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez Jr. has accused him of “trying to create a situation” in order to justify his request.

Martinez, in press statement sent to Sun.Star Cebu yesterday, said that “several acts of harassment against his people have happened by the goons” identified with Salimba-ngon’s camp.

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The latest, he said, concerned his ward leader in Barangay Malingin, 43-year-old tricycle driver Matias Veraque Mediana.

He said the barangay captain of Malingin is Sa-limbangon’s ally, an allegation Salimbangon denied.

Scary visit

Mediana reported to police that three men wearing masks went to his house twice last Feb. 8.

Even though he was not home on both occasions, their visit allegedly scared his children.

The men, according to the press statement, identified themselves as Salim-bangon’s supporters.

Martinez appealed to his political rivals to refrain from harassing his people, even as he urged his followers to keep calm and let the police handle everything.

“The district is very peaceful, especially Bogo, where the Salimbangons campaigned recently,” the mayor said.

The mayor said he still trusts the city police even though their chief was unceremoniously replaced.

Salimbangon, for his part, denied having a private army, saying he is not known as someone who has committed any wrongdoing.

“If gusto siya nga mag-malinawon ang election, nganong naa man siya’y private army (If Martinez wants a peaceful election, how come he has an armed group)?” he said.

Increase in numbers

He said he received a report that members of the City of Bogo Anti-Crime Task Force (CBACTAF) have increased to 400 and they were distributed to the barangay captains.

He said the CBACTAF members are supposed to man traffic in the city, but traffic in the city is not a problem.

He said that last Feb. 6, unidentified men were seen in Sta. Fe and they allegedly stayed in the house of Mayor Jennifer Ilustrisimo

“Gipasalbahan mi ka-tong naa mi barangay gathering sa Barangay Ocoy. Mga tawo nga wa namu nailhi (Someone fired shots while we had a gathering in Barangay Ocoy. We didn’t know the perpetrators),” Salimbangon said.

Salimbangon also appealed to Martinez to dismantle the CBACTAF.

Martinez’s son Tining (Celestino Martinez III) is facing Salimbangon again in the 2010 fourth district congressional race even though their dispute (over who the rightful congressman is) has yet to be resolved because of the two pending motions for oral argument and clarification filed by the Office of Solicitor General.

According to Salimba-ngon, he is still the elected congressman because of these pending motions.