Police tracing cellphone owner
Some mountain barangay captains in Cebu City were advised to remain vigilant after they reported getting death threats by phone from unidentified sources.
Police are trying to assess the reported threats.
Some barangay captains met with Acting Mayor Edgardo Labella in his office yesterday morning to discuss the matter.
Labella said the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), through acting chief Sr. Supt. Marciano Batiancela Jr., is tracing the owner of a cellphone number which has been contacting barangay captains either threatening to kill them or asking for money from them.
“We have to trace this because one of the things that surprised us is why only barangay captains supporting Team Rama are being threatened,” Labella said.
The acting mayor said though that he himself has also received threats for the past three months.
But he said he just disregarded these as the work of “crackpots” and idle people.
“Ako lang sang tubagon nga ‘Sige lang diha. Panghadlok lang. Kay wa na ko mahadlok. Nahurot na akong hadlok paglutaw nako sa dagat ug 36 ka oras. Wa na koy gikahadlokan gawas sa Ginoo’,”
Labella said. (I just replied “Go ahead and threaten me. I’m not afraid anymore. My fear is all gone when I was floating in the sea for 36 hours. I don’t fear anything except God.)
Labella was a survivor of the sinking of the Princess of the Orient in 1998.
He said that the barangay captains should remain careful with or without the presence of threats which is part of the hazards of public office, especially if people don’t agree with how you do things.
The caller allegedly demanded money from the barangay captains for sums ranging from P2,500 to s P60,000.
Cambinocot barangay captain Reynald Lauron said he was told by the caller that somebody paid them to kill him and that they’re calling since they think he was a good person and just asked for money instead.
“When they called me, they said they wanted a refund for their boat fare back to Ozamiz. They asked me to send P4,500 but they didn’t give their complete name,” Lauron said in Cebuano.
Lauron said he fears for his life especially since his uncle was murdered in their barangay in 2007 and until now the crime remains unsolved.
For his part, Batiancela said he thinks the calls were cases of plain extortion.
He already asked CCPO’s City Intelligence Branch, headed by Supt. Romeo Santander, to assess the threats.
“We’ll wait for the assessment. If there is a need to provide them with security, then we are ready to do so,” he said.
He advised the barangay captains to continue being vigilant and not let their guard down.
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