How and why Clarin mayor was arrested in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Clarin town Mayor David Navarro of Misamis Occidental was on his way home with his daughter from an official trip in Cebu City when the operatives of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) intercepted him at the Mactan International Airport around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 24, 2019.
The order came from Police Brigadier General Valeriano De Leon, Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) director, when he found out that a complaint had been lodged against the mayor in the Abellana Police Station for alleged physical injuries and acts of lasciviousness.
A massage parlor located in Fuente Osmeña reported that Navarro harassed their female clerk and physically abused another male therapist on the evening of Wednesday, October 23, 2019.
“We will exert all efforts to get him,” said De Leon in a press conference at Camp Sergio Osmeña at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Three hours after, Navarro was arrested at the MCIA and brought to the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office for inquest where he denied the allegations against him.
He was later brought to the Abellana Police Station, where he is currently detained pending investigation.
“Dili na tinood. Siya (male therapist) may nagsugod, iya kong gibastos. (That is not true. The massage therapist started it, he insulted me),” said Navarro.
Navarro refused to issue any more statement to the media and said he would only speak through his lawyers, who as of time of writing has not spoken to the press.
The mayor was 378 kilometers away from his hometown, on an official trip for a seminar among Mindanao mayors in Cebu City, but he will not be going home soon.
The massage parlor, the name of which CDN chose to hide to protect the identities of the abused victims, released to the media a copy of the closed circuit television (CCTV) footage with the timestamp of 10:55 p.m. on Wednesday.
The footage shows Mayor Navarro with at least two aides walking along the hallway of the massage parlor. He was seen holding down the male therapist, punching him and kicking him with his knees.
The male therapist, John Dueñas, 23, said he was surprised when the mayor and his aides held him down, since he only went outside to respond to the calls for help from the female clerks who claimed they were insulted and allegedly molested by the mayor and his men.
Dueñas said the mayor asked the clerk of the parlor for a female therapist, but when they refused to give one, the mayor allegedly told the clerk that he would pay them P500 to P1000 to spar with any of the male therapist available.
He was not aware of this threat and found himself trapped among the mayor and his men.
“Pagkita niya nako niingon siya, ‘mao ni? Kagamay man diay ani.’ Iya ko gisumbag,” said Dueñas.
(When he saw me, he asked ‘Is this him? He’s so little.’ Then he punched me.)
He suffered minor injuries and bruises on the body and thighs following the incident. He and the female workers filed complaints at the Abellana Police Station at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday.
Police Major Eduard Sanchez, Abellana Police Station chief, said that since the complainants were willing to a file a case, they had to go after the mayor.
Sanchez said they tried to arrest Navarro in his hotel in Fuente Osmeña, but they found out that he was already in the airport since his flight to Manila was scheduled at 4:50 p.m.
The mayor was already boarding when the CCPO with the help of the airport police intercepted him.
“Nahold si mayor mao to nabalik nato. (We were able to hold the mayor from boarding his flight, and he was brought back to Cebu City),” said Sanchez.
Sanchez assured that the mayor was not given special treatment even if he was a government official, and he would be detained just like other offenders in Abellana Police Station. /dbs
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