TO many residents of Barangay Mabini, Cebu City, Rey Oybenes is a generous and helpful village chief.
Many of them were shocked when they heard that Oybenes was accused of killing Rohama Luage, his alleged lover, and dumping her body in a ravine in Balamban.
The residents visited the mountain barangay’s sports complex, where Oybenes’s wake is held, to offer sympathies to the barangay captain’s wife.
Thirty-eight-year-old Jecebel, the village official’s wife, said her husband worked hard to provide the needs of his constituents. “Grabe gyud ang iyang service ug
commitment sa katawhan (His commitment to serve the village was admirable),” she added.
Oybenes, 38, was on his third and last term as barangay captain. He was planning to run as barangay councilor while his elder sister Memie, 42, planned to compete for his position in the barangay elections in October.
Memie told Sun.Star Cebu that Rey worked on improving the roads in the barangay.
Many residents of Mabini, located 22.18 kilometers north of downtown Cebu City, rely on farming, mango growing and charcoal production.
In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Memie asked the public to pray for her brother, instead of make fun of the incident.
“Namatay na baya na ang tawo. Maluoy sad tawn mo (He is dead. We should respect the dead),” she said.
San Jose Barangay Captain Joventino Ardaba, a friend of Rey, said that when he saw the Mabini village chief earlier, he did not see any sign that the other man had problems.
Before he became barangay captain, Rey served as barangay councilor for several terms.
Rey, the third in a brood of four, grew up in Mabini.
His father was a former professor of University of Visayas and a local healer. His mother was a businesswoman.
His parents won the lottery in 1970s and invested their winnings on putting up stalls at the Carbon Market.
Jecebel said Rey continued his parents' business and started a money lending venture.
Rey was involved in a conflict over the Adarna property in Sitio Luton, Mabini in May 2008. He got into an argument with the property’s caretakers when he tried to destroy the fence that blocked a public road.