San Fernando vice mayor: It was a case of ‘mistaken identity’

By Carmel Loise Matus, Jhunnex Napallacan |August 07,2016 - 11:01 PM

VICE Mayor Fralz Sabalones of San Fernando Cebu claimed that he was a “victim of mistaken identity” when President Rodrigo Duterte tagged him along with several others as alleged drug protectors in the country at Sunday dawn.

The worried Sabalones went to the San Fernando police precinct at past noon with his equally worried wife and three small daughters, said San Fernando police station desk officer P03 Marjukin Misuari.

Sabalones told policemen that the President might have been referring to his brother Franz, who is rumored to be involved in the drug trade.

“This is just a classic example of mistaken identity that the Honorable President Rodrigo Duterte may have been referring to Franz Sabalones, his brother who is rumored to have been involved in drug trade,” said the blotter report written by Misuari.

Sabalones begged off from any interviews. The media then tried to interview him at his reported residence in San Isidro, but those inside the house said Sabalones didn’t live there.

Reporters also visited the Paulo Luna Resort Spa & Restaurant that the Sabalones family reportedly owned, but the resort staff who went out of the gate said the official was not also there.

Sabalones appeared to be blaming the media for immediately referring to him as the one involved in drugs in the blotter report.

“That the media mistook him as Franz who the president mentioned and said “who ran for mayor but lost” but the truth of the matter is his name (is) Fralz with an L and not Franz with an N,” the blotter report stated.

Sabalones went to the police precinct at 12:45 p.m. just “ to clear his name and deny any and all involvement of illegal drug trade in San Fernando.”

He claimed that he was never charged with any crime or faced a civil case.

Misuari said Sabalones wanted to visit the Police Regional Office and meet with Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, PRO-7 chief.

But Misuari said they told him that Taliño was not in the office yesterday since it was a Sunday.

Misuari said Sabalones will go to PRO-7 today, and whatever comes out of the meeting with Taliño will determine whether Sabalones will visit Camp Crame or not.

Another police officer, P01 Charben Sapio of the San Fernando police precinct, said Sabalones and his wife seemed very sad when they arrived at the precinct.

The wife claimed that they lost sleep because of the report. Sapio said the vice mayor’s elder brother Franz was rumored to be involved in the illegal drug trade and is in hiding now.

San Fernando Mayor Lakambini Reluya admitted she doesn’t know anything about Sabalones and his alleged links to illegal drugs.

But she asked that Sabalones be given an avenue for him to disprove the allegations against him.

“That is the best opportunity for him para i-prove kung tinuod ba or dili (That is the best opportunity for him to prove if it’s true or not),” she told reporters in an interview at the San Fernando Municipal Hall yesterday afternoon.

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