San Fernando violence: Feliciano denies keeping goons
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Businessman Ruben Feliciano admitted that the four men who were arrested in the mountain barangay of Bugho, San Fernando town were among the supporters and volunteers who joined his political sortie in the barangay on Thursday, but he denied that they were armed.
The four did not also engage in a shootout with the military, he said.
“I will never allow them (my supporters) to carry firearms because it’s my desire to have a clean, honest and peaceful election,” Feliciano said in a press conference this afternoon, May 10.
Contrary to earlier reports, Feliciano said that those who fired at the military were supporters of Barangay Councilor Teodoro Resogento who is a supporter of reelectionist mayor Lakambini Reluya. Resogento, he said, was a also candidate for town councilor under Reluya’s slate.
“Ang nagbakbakan didto army ug goons ni Resorente,” he said.
(Those who engaged in exchange of gunfire were the army and the goons of Resorente.)
Feliciano also identified a certain Danny Baringui-an, who is said to be a Bugho barangay tanod, as the leader of the armed group.
CDN Digital tried but failed to reach Mayor Reluya for her comment.
Lawyer Vicente Isles, Feliciano’s counsel, said that he already went to see Romeo Olis, Frisco Tapales, Manuel Alidon and Anastacio Solis who remained in detention.
Alidon was the driver of the multicab that carried the sound system which Feliciano uses to play his campaign jingle during his barangay sorties. Solis and Tapales jumped from the motorcycle which they boarded to tail Feliciano’s convoy and look for a safe place to hide when they heard the gun bursts.
“It’s just so unfortunate nga sila ang gi tudlo sa mga taw ni Reluya pag abot sa mga military,” said Isles.
(It’s just so unfortunate that Reluya’s supporters pointed at them as the ones who engaged in shootout with the military.)
Isles said that Olis, who was also with Feliciano’s group, also looked for a safe place to hide, but was later on arrested by authorities. He said that Olis had told him during their talk that law enforcers took pictures of him with some firearms. Olis did not know where those came from, he said.
“All these are mere propaganda against me, to destroy me, to malign me. But that will never work because I only have two protections: the truth and God,” Feliciano said.
Atty. Isles said that they are now reviewing the cases of the four supporters to determine what kind of assistance they could extend to them.
He is also calling for the conduct of ballistics examination to determine if the two .357 magnum revolvers and the other bullets that were reportedly confiscated from the possession of Feliciano’s supporters would match the empty shells that were recovered in the area.
Isles also called for a paraffin test on the four men to check if they indeed fired guns as alleged.
Isles said that military men who checked on Feliciano’s service vehicle and the multicab which Alidon drove did not find a single firearm or even bullet from the two vehicles, an indication that members of their group were unarmed.
“Gi check ang mga sakyanan pero ilang gipalarga kay wala silay nakita,” he said.
(They searched the vehicles but eventually allowed its occupants to leave because they did not find anything there.”
In his press conference, Feliciano said, he visited Barangay Bugho that is located about 45 kilometers from the town proper on Thursday afternoon to campaign. He was joined by several supporters and volunteers, some of whom he does not even personally know.
He said that when they arrived at the supposed venue of their political gathering near the Bugho barangay hall, his group was advised to transfer to another location that is close to where Resogento lives.
Feliciano said that a group of armed men fired at their direction shortly after they arrived in the area at about 2 p.m. prompting him and his supporters to scamper for safety. He was happy that none from among the members of their group were harmed.
While shots were fired, military men who have been roving the mountain barangays of San Fernando town arrived and engaged in exchange of gun fire with Resogento’s “goons.”
It was just unfortunate that four of his supporters where picked up by the military after the exchange of gunfire ceased, he said.
Still, Feliciano is hopeful that the deployment of policemen and military augmentation in San Fernando town would deter violent incidents in the coming days.
“Kung dili i military control, sigurado nga naa na pud nay harassment. There shall never be a clean and honest election. Gusto kog ug Comelec control. Karon ang nahitabo ang nag control si mayor Reluya,” he said.
(If we are not placed under military control, incidences of harassment will continue. There shall never be a clean and honest election. I want (the town placed under) Comelec control. Right now, what is happening is that we are under the control of mayor Reluya.)
Subscribe to our regional newsletter
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.