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Ex-mayor charged for blocking rival’s convoy in 2010

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman filed recently before the Sandiganbayan a case of grave coercion against the former mayor and vice mayor of Bogo City in Cebu for their involvement in blocking the convoy of a rival during the May 2010 election.

Former Bogo mayor Celestino Martinez and former vice mayor Santiago Sevilla were accused of taking advantage of their positions when they prevented Cebu Fourth District Rep. Benhur Salimbangon and his companions from leaving the Polambato Elementary School with violence and without authority of law.

The Office of the Ombudsman said that armed members of the City of Bogo Anti-Crime Task Force (CBACTF) cordoned the area to ensure that Salimbangon and his companions could not leave. They also searched the vehicle without a warrant and against the will of Salimbangon and his companions.

The case was raffled off to the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division, and the Office of the Ombudsman recommended that each of the accused post P30,000 bail.

Salimbangon and his companions initially filed the case against Martinez before the Cebu Provincial Prosecutors Office several days after the standoff at the school.

In their joint affidavits, Salimbangon and his companions said they went to Polambato Elementary School to check reports that the Board of Election Inspectors in the polling precincts were issuing priority numbers only to the supporters of Martinez.

Martinez, his other family members, their lawyers and other candidates reportedly confronted Salimbangon and his companions upon arrival at the school.

Salimbangon and his companions decided to leave the area to avoid conflict, only to find their vehicle convoy blocked by the cars of the Martinez camp.

BENHUR SALIMBANGON

BOARD OF ELECTION INSPECTORS

BOGO

BOGO CITY

CEBU FOURTH DISTRICT REP

CEBU PROVINCIAL PROSECUTORS OFFICE

CELESTINO MARTINEZ

CITY OF BOGO ANTI-CRIME TASK FORCE

COMPANIONS

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN

POLAMBATO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

SALIMBANGON

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