TUBURAN, CEBU- Army troopers are already here to be part of the government’s peacekeeping forces for the elections on May 13. The team lead by Capt. Jason Torino is augmentation force from the Foxtrot Company of the 12th Infantry Batallion (IB) formerly based in Banga, Aklan. Mayor Democrito “Aljun” Diamante welcomed their presence as he revealed a piece of information that “armed groups” are being kept near their municipality.
Diamante refused to categorically say though if the alleged armed group are “goons” of their rival Daphne Lagon who is running as Mayor against his younger brother, Vice Mayor Danilo Diamante. But Diamante whose supporter was killed prior to elections in 2013 blaming it to the Lagon’s said that the armed men are being housed in the mountain barangays of Asturias and the adjacent Tabuelan, where his another brother, Onie, is also running for Mayor.
“Gani dunay intel report nga duna silay mga tawo sa Santa Lucia, didto sa Lanao, sa bukiran sa Tabuelan so wala nila gibutang ang ilang mga tawo dinhi sa lungsod (There is an intel report that they have men in Santa Lucia, in Lanao, in the mountains of Tabuelan, so they did not put their men here in the town), Diamante told iNews.ph in an interview.
An armed person who Diamante claimed is a supporter of Lagon was also arrested last Saturday evening in Barangay Poblacion 8. Based on the police blotter, the suspect is identified as Aldrin Pajes Albano, 37, who was arrested after the police raided his house past 7pm. Tuburan police station Desk Officer on Duty, Staff Sergeant Achiles Barota said their operation was based on a search warrant issued by Judge Hermes Montero of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 59 in Toledo City.
Albano was found to have kept an unlicensed .38 caliber revolver and four live ammunitions of .357 revolver. Apart from being a Lagon supporter, Diamante described Albano as “toughie” in the area. “Basi sa akong nadawat, mag sige na ug da-da ug KG9 unya last week dunay gipareglahan na siya (Based on the information that reached me, he would always bring a KG9 and he hurt somebody last week), Diamante told iNews.ph.
The Joint Security Control Center in Cebu province has earlier placed Tuburan under the “orange category” of the Election Watchlist Areas (EWAS). An orange category indicates intense political rivalry and the presence of an armed group. Diamante’s supporter Rene Cangmaong was shot to death last May 4, 2016 in Barangay Mag-antoy purportedly by the men of a certain Eduardo Sacamay, a former New People’s Army (NPA) leader allegedly hired by the Lagon’s.
The Lagon’s vehemently denied the accusation, however. Daphne ran against Democrito in 2016 and won in a protest but Diamante did a counter legal move, making him stay in office. Meanwhile, Gubernatorial bet Vice Governor Agnes Magpale attended yesterday the “pulong-pulong” of the Diamante’s in the Mayor’s residence in Barangay Cogon.
Magpale was accompanied by Governor Hilario Davide lll, her running mate. Former Rep. Celestino Martinez, Jr. who is running as congressman of the 4th district where Tabuelan belongs was also present. (With a report from Gene Anthony Valenzuela)