Tuburan mayor cries political violence: Supporter slain

Bryner L. Diaz (The Freeman) - May 4, 2016 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - A rebel returnee died of multiple gunshot wounds in an alleged ambush in the mountain barangay of Mag-antoy in the northwestern town of Tuburan in Cebu early afternoon yesterday.

Senior Insp. Leo Logroño, chief of the Tuburan Police Station, identified the victim as Rene Cangmaong, a resident of the town.

Logroño said Cangmaong had three companions, one of whom was also reportedly injured, who are now being tracked by the police.

The incident reportedly happened while the four men were navigating a steep road onboard a motorcycle at past 1 p.m.

Cangmaong's body was later found a meter away from the motorcycle but his companions went missing.

Logroño said Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) reached the town last night to process the crime scene, which was preserved by his men.

He said investigation is ongoing to determine the perpetrators and the motive for the killing.

In a telephone interview, Tuburan Mayor Democrito Diamante told The Freeman Cangmaong is his supporter. He pointed a finger at his political rival, Daphne Lagon, as the alleged mastermind.

"Giambush nila ang mga supporters, nanguna man ni sila oie, napatyan usa," Diamante said.

He also accused Lagon's camp of hiring former New People's Army rebel Eduardo Sacamay and a certain Myrna Romero, a female fighter, as her goons. He alleged further that Lagon's camp hired goons from Ozamis City and Iloilo City to harass his supporters.

"Nang-hire na sila og mga goons…mga tawo sa bukid pangharasson, mga supporter ti-onan hayloon og kwarta," he said.

Diamante said Lagon is reportedly willing to spend P100 million just to bring him down.

"Grabe kaayo, obsessed nga modaog bisan di ganahan ang tao nila, mamugos. Nganong mogasto man sila og P100 million?" Diamante said.

In a separate interview, Lagon denied any involvement in the incident and even turned the table on Diamante.

"Pangutan-on niya iya'ng kaugalingon kon kinsa ang naghimo anang iyang mugna-mugna karon…The only way nga mabati ko, basin iyang i-twist basin iyang patyon-patyon iyang kauban para ako mabati," she said.

She also denied Diamante's accusation that she has hired goons. She admitted, however, that she hired private security from an agency.

"Hagit nako niya, iyang kaugalingon ang iyang pangutan-on kay kahibawo siya sa realidad nga daghan siya og goons nya ipahid niya nako," Lagon said.

She said she decided to run for mayor because the residents there are fed up of Diamante's administration and to prove that she does not instigate chaos unlike what Diamante insists she does.

She said she had her standing order for her supporters not to compromise their security and safety recorded in the police station.

She said there were numerous instances when Diamante's goons allegedly harassed her leaders in the mountain barangays but they never retaliated even after two of her supporters in Barangay Mag-atubang were killed.

Tuburan town is one of the seven municipalities and one city classified as Election Watchlist Areas either due to intense political rivalry or election related incident in the past or during the election period.

The others are Carmen, Dumanjug, Daanbantayan, Medellin, San Fernando, San Francisco in Camotes Islands, and Bogo City. — /JMO (FREEMAN)

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