Cebu News

Dumanjug “ambush” incident CCPO to look into suspects’ mauling

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - After the arrest of at least three persons suspected to be part of the 10 who allegedly attacked the convoy of Dumanjug, Cebu Vice Mayor Efren Gica last week, the Cebu Police Provincial Office headquarters will conduct an investigation amid reports that they have been mauled at the police station.

CPPO Director Noel Gillamac said he has directed the Provincial Investigation and Detective Management Branch and the Provincial Intelligence Branch to look into the report.

He said that if it is found out that indeed Dumanjug police “maltreated” the three men, “they will be subjected to an administrative case.”

Because of the incident, Gillamac and Provincial Elections Officer  Lionel Marco Castillano are set to meet during the Provincial Joint Peace and Security to assess the situation in Dumanjug.

He said that the meeting will take place before Christmas so that the issue could be tackled.

He added that the Regional Joint Security will recommend if Dumanjug would be declared as an area of concern or not.

After the alleged attack, Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia visited the National Bureau of Investigation-7 to seek assistance in the investigation of the attack and to check if it was staged.

Garcia accused Gica of staging the attack while Gica suspected that Garcia had a hand in the attempt on his life because some of the attackers were allegedly allies of the mayor.

Gillamac welcomed the parallel investigation, saying it would help them find out the truth of that attack amid allegations by both Garcia and Gica camps.

Gillamac said they also would like to know the target of the attack as Gica personally showed up in his office to seek for police security escort.

Requests for security details, Gillamac said, would be thoroughly screened by the police before they are granted.

A group of at least 10 armed men riddled the vehicle of Rene Asentista, Gica’s running mate, after a consultative meeting organized by Gica’s slate last Friday in Barangay Masa, Dumanjug. No one was hurt in the incident.

Because of what happened, Gica asked the police to conduct a swift investigation into the incident and the immediate arrest of all suspects.

He said in a press conference yesterday that the incident has caused so much worry and alarm to his party allies and constituents in Barangay Masa. He said he believed he and other Liberal Party candidates were the target as he is challenging Garcia in the elections next year.

Asentista, for his part, asked the police and the provincial government to consider augmenting the security force and police visibility in the town, especially in mountain areas.

 He also called on authorities to include the town again under the election watchlist or declare it as hotspot so that more military personnel will be fielded in their place.

In a separate interview, however, Castillano reiterated his earlier statement that the poll body will wait for the result of the police investigation into the incident to determine if it involved politics or not.

He also said that the Commission on Elections can only deputize members of the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines when the election period starts on January 10 next year.

Garcia, on the other hand, said he was planning to file a criminal complaint for libel against Gica after the latter accused him of allegedly receiving drug money from suspected drug lords.

In an interview over dyLA, Garcia said he would confer with his lawyers the soonest possible time to prepare the complaint, as he denied receiving protection money from the drug personalities.

Gica earlier told reporters that he received information that Garcia is receiving at least P40,000 in protection money from drug lords every week.

According to Garcia, the accusation is Gica’s a desperate attempt to divert the public attention from the criminal case for malversation of government property the vice mayor is facing before the Regional Trial Court in Barili.

 Gica is currently out on bail after a warrant of arrest was issued against him last week in relation to the case. The court has scheduled his arraignment on Monday.  — (FREEMAN)

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