Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Chasing elusive justice

MURDER is a thief, while justice is a ghost for San Fernando, Cebu Mayor Lakambini Reluya.

A year after she lost her husband Councilor Ricardo “Nonoy” Reluya Jr. and two other persons in a gun attack, Reluya is still waiting for the law’s arms to catch the culprits.

The perpetrators remain in shadows—their identities, unknown; their motives, undetermined.

Reluya led a vigil on Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 22, 2020, exactly a year after the fatal attack.

The local executive and her supporters demanded justice for the murders of Ricardo and San Fernando municipal employees Ricky Monterona and Allan Bayot.

On Jan. 22, 2019, Reluya was aboard a van with her husband and other San Fernando municipal workers, including Bayot and Monterona, when a group of masked assailants attacked them in Talisay City, Cebu.

Reluya and her two bodyguards survived the attack.

Ricardo was the barangay captain of Panadtaran and president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) in San Fernando. As ABC president, he sat as ex-officio member of the Municipal Council.

He was a candidate for vice mayor of the town in the May 2019 elections. His son replaced him and won in the polls.

Mass offering

Last Wednesday, Reluya and her supporters offered a Mass at San Isidro Labrador Parish in Barangay South Poblacion for the fatalities and held a vigil dubbed “Light a candle for Justice, Peace and Protection.”

Fr. Melton Medida officiated the Mass, which was attended by Reluya’s relatives and supporters. In his homily, the priest urged the relatives of the victims to be patient.

After the Mass, a unity walk was held in the town center.

Reluya, in an interview, said she had been praying every day, asking for justice for the murder of her husband, Monterona and Bayot.

She prayed that the perpetrators would be bothered by their conscience and surrender to authorities.

During the activity, Reluya and her supporters lit candles that were formed to read “Justice.”

Aside from Ricardo, several San Fernando officials were killed in separate shooting incidents—councilors Alfonso Donaire IV, Reneboy Dacalos and former ABC president Johnny Arriesgado.

In the wake of the killings, then San Fernando vice mayor Fralz Sabalones went on an indefinite leave. His brother, self-confessed drug lord Franz Sabalones, was shot dead in April 2019. ( FMD / KAL)


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