Osmeña supporters in Sudlon 1 ‘harassed’

CEBU. Amor Cabiles, head of the barangay mayor’s office in Sudlon 1, Cebu City, points to the bullet hole in her roof after her house was strafed last Saturday night, May 4. (SunStar/Amper Campana)

THE house of another Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) supporter was strafed, while another supporter was allegedly choked and slapped in the face by unidentified men in separate incidents in Sudlon 1, Cebu City last Saturday night, May 4.

The strafing happened in the house of Amor Cabiles, barangay mayor’s office (BMO) head, in Sitio Consit at 11:33 p.m.

Cabiles said her family left the house around 11 p.m. and went to a neighbor’s house after she allegedly received threatening text messages, as well as verbal threats. Some 30 minutes later, they heard gunshots and saw four unidentified men aboard two motorcycles.

“We weren’t sure if our house was the one under attack, not until the next day,” Cabiles said in Cebuano.

Seven slugs from a .45 pistol were recovered outside her house.

Cabiles said she had been receiving texts for months, telling her to lie low and to stop their meetings for the inter-sitio farmer’s association.

“They told me I was being targeted because I liked to organize meetings,” she said in Cebuano.

Cabiles heads the inter-sitio farmer’s association, which has 247 members. The group meets every week.

She believes their meetings may have misinterpreted as gatherings about the midterm elections on Monday, May 13.

Cabiles said the strafing incident must be politically-related since she couldn’t remember wronging anyone.

Also around 11:30 p.m., armed men allegedly went to the house of association member Dinefer Aguilar, a barangay’s voters assistance center head, in Sitio Tabla.

Aguilar said the armed men forced their way inside and destroyed her door. Before they dragged her out of the house, one of the men slapped her in the face and head and told her to leave the barangay, she said.

“He said if I didn’t leave, they’d come back. He was speaking in Tagalog,” she said in Cebuano.

They asked if there was somebody inside the store beside her house, when she told them no, they peppered the store with bullets, she said. Then they left, she said.

Aguilar said the men did not conceal their faces. They wore shorts, sweatshirts and combat shoes, she said.

Aguilar said she started receiving death threats in March around the time Mayor Tomas Osmeña announced he was running for reelection.

Last Saturday’s strafing happened exactly one month after after the houses of Sinsin Barangay Captain Aurello Lascuña and Sudlon 2 Barangay Captain Prescillo Albores were strafed.

In an interview over radio dyLA, the mayor accused the police of being responsible for the strafing incidents.

“To me, klaro kaayo nga police ra. Wa nay lain gyud (It’s quite evident the police were responsible. No one else),” said Osmeña. “Asa ilang gihimo nga (Where are their) checkpoints?”

Osmeña pointed to the late Police Corporal Feliciano Yballe Jr. as the one responsible for the strafing incidents in Barangays Sinsin and Sudlon 2 last month.

The mayor challenged the “cowards” behind the strafing incidents to face him instead of threatening his supporters.

“Now who would they look up to? The police? This is the worst police I’ve seen,” the mayor said.

During his meeting with Aguilar and Cabiles, Osmeña told them to move to the downtown area if they thought their lives were in danger in the mountain barangay.

He also told them he would help in the investigation, said Cabiles.

The mayor expects more of his supporters to be harassed as the elections draw near.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s not safe. All I’m saying is, I’m not going to run away,” Osmeña said.

Aguilar and Cabiles have yet to report the incidents to the barangay or have these recorded in the blotter at the Pardo Police Station.

During the miting de avance of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan at the Cebu City Sports Center on Sunday, May 5, Osmeña and his running mate, City Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos, said they were willing to risk their lives for their supporters. (WITH A REPORT FROM PAC)


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