FOUR armed men were taken into custody by members of the 47th Infantry Battalion (IB) after they attempted to harass an aspiring municipal councilor in Barangay Bugho, San Fernando on Thursday, May 9.

Romeo Olis Jr., 39; Frisco Tapales, 29; Manuel Alidon, 34; and Anastacio Solis, 50, were arrested following a chase around 1 p.m.

Although police have yet to identify who hired them, some witnesses claimed the four men worked for businessman and San Fernando mayoral candidate Ruben Feliciano.

Feliciano’s running mate is Antonio Canoy, the town’s former mayor.

“That’s a big lie. Why would I commit harassment when they tried to ambush me first?” Feliciano told SunStar Cebu in an interview.

He said the goons were hired by his opponent, Mayor Lakambini Reluya, to harass him and his group.

Feliciano said he is open to being investigated.

Witnesses’ accounts

Patrolman Philip Gesto of the San Fernando Police Station said they recovered two .357 magnum revolvers, a full M1 Garand rifle clip, 12 bullets from a Smith and Wesson .357 revolver and two motorcycles from the suspects.

Gesto said the 47th IB stationed in Barangay Magsico initially received a distress call from Bugho Barangay Captain Lorenda Basalo over reports that armed men were spotted in their village. When they arrived, members of the 47th IB were shot at by a group of armed men, forcing them to shoot back.

But some residents told SunStar Cebu that Feliciano brought the armed men with him during his sortie there last Thursday morning.

A reliable source who asked not to be named said Feliciano and his group visited the barangay hall looking for Bugho Councilman Joy Resogento, who is running for the Municipal Council.

Tanods and barangay health workers (BHWs) canceled their meeting when Feliciano showed up because some of them were afraid that Feliciano would harass them, the source said.

The source said the tanods and BHWs immediately went to Resogento’s house to tell him that Feliciano was looking for him.

Resogento admitted that he became anxious because Feliciano had threatened to kill him on several occasions because he was running under Reluya’s slate.

He became more anxious when Feliciano’s car and his group, including 20 men on board motorcycles wearing masks and caps, suddenly stopped in front of his house.

Resogento said some of the members of Feliciano’s entourage carried various small and high-powered firearms.

Fearing for his life, Resogento decided to call the army detachment in Barangay Magsico, which was nearby.

When the soldiers arrived near Resogento’s house around 1 p.m., one of the armed men outside his house started firing at them.