Complainants want barangay chief’s public apology
GO NEGOSYO - Garry B. Lao (The Freeman) - January 20, 2017 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Complainants against Cubacub Barangay Captain Almario Bihag, who allegedly pointed a gun at them during the election of the Multi-Sectoral Governance Coalition (MSGC) in Barangay Cubacub, Mandaue City last November 25, 2016, want Bihag to issue a public apology and admit to his actions.

The Mandaue City Council Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability conducted a preliminary conference last Wednesday on the administrative complaint against Bihag filed by two women, Winnie Garcia Sicad of Barangay Cubacub, and Rolita M. Balane of Zone Sili, Barangay Paknaan, a job order employee who facilitated the election of the MSGC.

Councilor Nenita Ceniza-Layese, the chairperson of the committee, said their main concern during the preliminary conference is to determine if an amicable settlement can be reached.

In the complaint filed, Balane said that during the conduct of the MSGC election last November, a barangay employee, Lotes Vega, approached her and handed over her mobile phone, saying Bihag wanted to talk to her.

She said that "Kap. Bihag told me not to continue with the election because it was contrary to our agreement. I tried to explain to him that we conducted the election based on our agreement. Not interested to hear my response, Kap. Bihag put down the phone."

Later on, Bihag arrived at the gymnasium and allegedly pointed his .45 caliber pistol at Balane's face. The gun-pointing incident was caught on video by Sicad, who also claimed Bihag tried to strangle her after he found out she was recording the incident.

In the preliminary conference, Balane said she is willing to forgive Bihag provided that he will issue a public apology and that a disciplinary action will be imposed against the barangay captain.

Sicad, for her part, added that she can only forgive Bihag if the barangay captain will admit his action.

Bihag, who had earlier issued a personal apology to Sicad and Balane, said he is willing to issue a public apology at the Cubacub gymnasium. However, he denied that he was holding a gun and instead claimed that it was only a handheld radio.

Bihag also denied the allegations that he tried to strangle Sicad, though he admitted that he was angry when he arrived at the election venue because he heard "highly provocative words" from Balane over the public address system.

Even if a settlement can be reached between the complainant and Bihag, Layese clarified that it will not stop the committee from imposing a disciplinary action against the barangay captain.

"Definitely, there will be a disciplinary action," Layese added. (FREEMAN)

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