Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Briones: San Fernando’s woes

On the go

I’M SURPRISED the Commission on Elections (Comelec) hasn’t acted yet.

I mean, how many people have died in the southern town of San Fernando since the beginning of this year? Their deaths weren’t random. The victims were, after all, incumbent officials who were running in the midterm elections on May 13. Although one was an independent, the others were candidates who belonged to the same party, that of incumbent mayor Lakambini Reluya, who is being challenged by an outsider.

Because that’s what businessman Ruben Feliciano is. An outsider. Apparently, his only reason for wanting to take the helm of the municipality is so his multibillion-peso port project in Barangay Sangat can get off the ground.

That’s how this all started, right?

Oh, by the way, in case you’re wondering, his running mate is Antonio Canoy, the former mayor.

Anyway, shouldn’t these deaths have raised a red flag?

Then last Monday night, a town ambulance that was returning to San Fernando after delivering a patient to a public hospital in Cebu City was ambushed by men in a white van in the City of Naga. I’m not sure if it was the same white van that was used by men who strafed the vehicle of Mayor Lakambini that killed her husband, the driver and a municipal employee last January in Talisay City.

Fortunately, all passengers—Harold Ballermo, Janice Rosal and Rosalie Cajes--escaped unscathed. They owe their lives to Armand Navarro, their driver. They were saved by his quick thinking and lighting reaction--when the armed men started to pepper their vehicle with bullets, he maneuvered to the opposing lane, made a U-turn and then sped off to the town proper.

An hour after the incident, someone posted on the Facebook page of MugEstorya KitagPolitika sa San Fernando, claiming the ambulance passengers were on their way to distribute money when the incident happened. That the mayor was bound to be disqualified for vote buying.

Never mind that four lives would have been lost if things had turned out differently.

Of course, Lakambini’s son Ricci denied the allegation and accused Feliciano’s supporters of being behind the malicious post.

The head of the City of Naga Police Station turned down the media’s request for further details on the incident. The Cebu Provincial Police Office director, who rushed to the city after he found out about the botched ambush, also declined to be interviewed.

Granted the ambush just happened so they probably didn’t have anything. Yet.

Ricci Reluya believed last Monday’s attack was the first of many in the lead-up to the elections. Now, shouldn’t the Comelec take notice?


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