DGS head, Osmeña’s office secretary are latest victims of ‘harassment’ in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Incidents of alleged harassment in Cebu City are no longer limited to barangay officials and supporters of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).
A City Hall department head and an employee at the office of the mayor claimed that they too fell victims to harassment.
Rolando Malacora, head of the Department of General Services, alleged that policemen , who were onboard two police vehicles, visited his home in the mountain barangay of Buot on Wednesday afternoon to look for him.
The policemen in camouflage uniform boarded police vehicles with body number 51 and 52 and stayed outside of the gate of their compound just across his home.
Malacora said that their presence caused fear among members of his family.
Catherine Yso, Mayor Tomas Osmena’s office secretary, said that their home in Barangay Basak San Nicolas was also stoned early today, May 9.
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Malacora said that six policemen who boarded two patrol cars arrived in their area around 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Some of them carried long firearms.
One of the policemen, he said, knocked on the gate of their compound at around 4:15 p.m. and asked his son for his whereabouts. The boy told the policeman that his father, who skipped worked that day because of his arthritis, was still asleep.
Malacora said that the policemen who were onboard patrol car 51 left the place after five minutes but those on board patrol car 50 stayed behind and remained across their home until around 8 a.m. today, May 9. The group was still outside of their home when he left their place by 7 a.m. to report for work.
“Sukad pag 2000, daghan nakog naagian nga eleksyon nya karon ra ko nakasulay og ing-ani nga panghulga. Nangita man gyod sila nako kay nangutana gyod sila sa akong anak kung hain ko. Kung lain pa to ila gipangita, daghan ra man sila pwede mapangutana didto,” said Malacora.
(Since I started working at City Hall in 2000, I have been through a lot of elections but this is the first time that I felt threatened. I know they (police) were after me because they asked my son for my whereabouts. If they were looking for someone else, they could have asked other people in the area.)
Malacora said that he now fear for his security and that of his family especially after previous incidents of strafing on the houses of barangay captains in the mountain barangays of Malubog, Sudlon II, and Sinsin.
While he does not want to speculate, Malacora said he could not think of any reason, other than politics, that may have prompted police to visit his residence.
“Kung duna silay tuyo nako, naa raman ko dinhi sa akong opisina gikan alas otso sa buntag hangtod alas singko sa hapon. Dili lang ta anang butang nga makapahingawa ba,” he said.
(If they have something to discuss with me, they can see me at my office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. But just don’t do something that is suspicious.)
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Malacora said that there had been incidences in the past that the police would see him to either ask for an increase in their gasoline allocation or raise some concerns, but their visits were made at his City Hall office and not his residence in the mountain barangay of Buot.
He also raised concern on the frequent visits of some policemen at the Partido Barug-PDP Laban satellite headquarters that is also located in their barangay.
Malacora is asking the police to be transparent with the motive of their frequent visits in their barangays. He would not mind seeing them around if they are there to ensure peace and order in the area.
Yso, for her part, said that she was already at work when she received a call from her brother who told her that their house in Barangay Basak San Nicolas was stoned around 6 a.m. today.
She said that two men who were onboard a motorcycle threw stones into their roadside home. While she no longer revealed the extent of damage caused by the stoning incident, Yso said she was happy that none of their family members were injured.
Yso is now renting her own place, but her parents and two siblings continue to occupy their San Nicolas home.
She does not discount the possibility that the stoning incident was election-related because of her employment as secretary for Mayor Osmeña. Her family do not also have enemies in their place.
“Pwede pud nga pulitika ang motibo kay sa kainit arong panahon nya secretary ko ni mayor. Mao gyod siguro,” Yso said.
(It is possible that the stoning incident was politically-motivated because we are just days away from the election and I am the secretary of the mayor. That could be the reason),” said Yso.
Yso is asking the men responsible for the stone-throwing incident to spare her family from harm.
Malacora said that City Hall department heads and employees should be spared from election-related harassments because they are required by law to remain non-partisan./dcb
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