Ombudsman OKs raps vs Martinez, 2 others
Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - January 12, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman has approved the filing of criminal charges in court against Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez Jr. and two others over a standoff between the mayor’s men and the group of Cebu fourth district Representative Benhur Salimbangon during the 2010 elections.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales affirmed the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Cebu finding probable cause against Martinez, his son Carlo Martinez, commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission, and vice mayor Santiago Sevilla for grave coercion.

“It is clear that when the complainants were prevented from moving their vehicles within the area of Palombato Road in Bogo City and respondents searched the vehicles of the complainants, there was such a display of material force which necessarily produced intimidation, and in effect, controlled the will of the complainants,” Morales ruled.

Salimbangon claimed in his complaint that his 11-vehicle convoy was blocked by the respondents on May 10, 2010, preventing him and his party from leaving the polling center.

“Based on the complaint, it was found that the Martinezes and other supporters verbally abused the group of Benhur Salimbangon and prevented them from leaving Polambato Elementary School,” read the anti-graft office decision.

Salimbangon said that he and 13 others went to Polambato Elementary School to check on reports of their coordinators that the Board of Election Inspectors issued priority numbers to the supporters of Martinez.

Upon arrival, complainants alleged that Martinez and his family, including their supporters, confronted and shouted at them.

Salimbangon claimed that his group decided to leave the area to avoid further tension but their vehicles were blocked by the group of Martinez. —(FREEMAN)

BENHUR SALIMBANGON BOARD OF ELECTION INSPECTORS BOGO CITY BOGO CITY MAYOR CELESTINO MARTINEZ JR. CARLO MARTINEZ CEBU NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN OFFICE OF THE PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR POLAMBATO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SALIMBANGON
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