Santa Fe mayor accused of threats
Iris Hazel M. Mascardo (The Freeman) - November 13, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — A councilor of Sante Fe town has filed a complaint before the Ombudsman against Sante Fe mayor Ithamar Espinosa, saying the mayor allegedly threatened and humiliated her in public.

Councilor Joan Gay Nepangue said this happened after Espinosa’s nephew was detained at the Bantayan Police Station for his involvement in a vehicular accident where the children of Nepangue’s employee were the reported victims.

In the affidavit of complaint that Nepangue filed before the Ombudsman, she said that last September 19, her waiter, a certain Ronald Autencio asked for help saying his live-in-partner Marivic Ariesgado, Nepangue’s former desk officer, figured in a hit-and-run accident with their children.

“He needed a ride to the hospital in my open multicab since he did not have a motorcycle… When we arrived in the hospital, we found out that Marivic lost two of her toes...and the two minors (Marivic’s kids) were slightly injured.” Nepangue’s affidavit read.

Nepangue said it was the mayor’s nephew, Raprap Zaspa, who was involved in the accident, but Zaspa allegedly left the scene instead of stopping, based on the account of the police.

Zaspa is the son of Pooc barangay captain Rafaelita Espinosa Zaspa.

“Some of the policeman went to Santa Fe to look for him. Two hours after, the police they found Mr. Zaspa in Sante Fe but did not arrest him. That he would follow them in Bantayan Police Station for questioning,” Nepangue’s affidavit further read.

According to Nepangue, the police then instructed Ronald to go to the Bantayan Police Station to face Zaspa. Ronald then asked Nepangue and her friends to accompany him in going to the said police station.

When they were at the police station, the mayor allegedly arrived with his bodyguards along with Barangay Captain Zaspa, who came in yelling “Mga yawa kamo, nganong gi-detain akong anak?” Nepangue further said in her affidavit.

There were heated arguments inside between the investigator and the barangay captain.

Nepangue also said that on their way home that same night, they were followed by a group of men on a motorcycle whom she claimed were the mayor’s men.

She added that the mayor also humiliated her by saying “Nagdumot akong pamilya nimo kay imong gipapriso akong pag-umangkon” during a public gathering.

Meanwhile, Mayor Espinosa denied the councilor’s accusations and said that it was them who sent an ambulance to the rescue when the accident happened.

Espinosa emphasized that when their camp went to the Bantayan Police Station, he did not even go out of his car to avoid being accused of abusing his authority as mayor.

“Wala g’yud na nahitabo,” the mayor said in denying the accusations that he ordered his men to follow the councilor.

Espinosa also said that he didn’t humiliate Nepangue in public, but instead told her that he cannot yet forgive her for detaining his nephew when the accident was not his nephew’s fault.

According to Espinosa, it was the other party who did not wear helmets or bring legitimate documents to drive.

Espinosa said he is ready to answer to the ombudsman if he will be summoned.  BRP (FREEMAN)

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