Checkpoint in Danao bags suspect; 45 cal seized
A security guard who was believed to be working for a local politician was arrested in a checkpoint mounted by the Commission on Elections in Danao town last Good Friday. The check point was a joint operations of the Comelec and the Danao police under PSINP Rolando Antipolo which resulted in the arrest of one Leocadio Grancioso Estorgio. The suspect was carrying an unlicensed 45 caliber firearm along with several live ammunition. Estorgio who claims to be a security guard of Dagohoy Security Agency was riding a motorcycle when he chanced upon the COMELEC check point at barangay Sta. Fe, Danao town. The suspect attempted to escape and left his motorcycle when he was subdued by PSINP Antipolo who wasted no time to collar the suspect. During the investigation, Estorgio claimed he is connected with Dagohoy Security Agency as a security guard. He was in Danao to have his .45 caliber gun repaired allegedly by a friend whom he refuses to name.
PSINP Antipolo sees a lot of loopholes in the information Estorgio gave during the investigation. He said Estorgio also could not identify the particular office, residence or person he was assigned to guard by the security agency In another development, Mayor Tom Gonzaga of Danao, reported that Estorgio was allegedly in barangay Carbon, Danao town, harassing his supporters the night before he was arrested by police elements. Mayor Gonzaga received several text messages from his supporters informing him that Estorgio was reportedly threatening the people of batangay Carbon unless they cast their vote for Vice Mayor Joe Cepedoza. He was alleged to have brandished his gun to intimidate the supporters of Mayor Tom. The Danao mayor claims that clearly Estorgio is one of the henchmen of Vice Mayor Cepedoza as the reports from barangay Carbon goes. Meanwhile, the management of Dagohoy Security Agency denied having an employee named Leocadio Estorgio. Besides, the Dagohoy Security Agency management spokesman said their office do not issue .45caliber pistol. This information from the security agency belied the claim of Estorgio. In a related development, the members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Danao expressed disappointment at the manner the higher officials of the police have been remiss at controlling the proliferation of illegal guns. This incident betrays the pronouncements of the provincial director that his office is after gun runners and holders of illegal guns. They claim that there had been several incidents in Danao when ordinary folks were harassed and threatened by gun wielding goons. Why would these goons threaten only the supporters of the incumbent mayor? So who is allowing these people to proliferate, they asked.
The arrest ushered in the start of the campaign period which is 45 days before the elections on May 13. Since the coming polls are more exciting in the local level, the pomp and fanfare started in earnest as early as Good Friday, the start of the 45-day period. As evidenced that the campaign officially started, posters of all kinds, shapes, colors and sizes representing local candidates started to sprout in any imaginable space throughout the city and towns. The propaganda of local bets were seen side by side with a sprinkling of posters of candidates for senators. As of yesterday, the Post is yet to notice that the candidates for governor and vice governor are yet to be seen. However, the mayoralty candidates in this city were already visible even before the campaign period started. To evade any violation for early campaigning, the same advertisements deliberately omitted the word “vote”.
Some posters of candidates for councilor in this city were noticed in some parts of Tagbilaran. In the towns, some “early birds” were posted as early as the start of the campaign last Good Friday. As Bohol welcomed the start of the campaign trail, Gov. Edgar Chatto warned Boholanos against dirty tactics and political sabotage. Chatto’s reelection bid is contended by Carmen Mayor Che Toribio de los Reyes. The incumbent’s running mate is re-electionist V-Gov. Concepcion Lim. She is challenged by Dr. Sharleen Corral-Lim, wife of City Mayor Dan Neri Lim. In the first congressional derby, Cong. Rene Relampagos is pitted against Mayor Lim while the second district sees the tussle between Aris Aumentado and come backing Trinidad Mayor Roberto Cajes. The third district remains a turf of Cong. Arthur Yap who faces no opponent. In the city mayoralty contest, three hopefuls are slugging it out. They are City Councilor Baba Yap, lawyer Dodong Gonzaga and Dr. Abe Lim.
Reports of political sabotage aimed at frustrating supporters of the administration of Gov. Chatto and Vice Governor Lim were confirmed this week with reports of said activity in the vote-rich towns of Ubay, Loon, and Sagbayan. As of press time, these groups have been confirmed to be active or already mobilized in the three municipalities and are feared to spread to more towns with the onset of the campaign period for local government officials today. A source from Loon described the tactics of the groups, explaining in the vernacular that these so-called volunteers pretend to be from the Capitol or to be die-hard Chatto-Lim supporters, knock on the doors of town or barangay residents, and instruct them to go to the town gym, plaza, or any other public place, promising that Governor Chatto would be there to give cash handouts to attendees. The source added that upon arriving at the supposed meeting place, the people find that there is nobody there and return home with resentment towards the governor. The same source reported that a few days after such activity took place, the United Nationalist Alliance’s local bet for the gubernatorial position, Carmen Mayor Toribio de los Reyes, came to their place and, in an assembly arranged for such visit, reportedly gave P1,000 to widows who were present.
In the gubernatorial debate held earlier this month, de los Reyes had defended such practice saying that the money she gives people in such sorties is not vote-buying, but her way of sharing her personal “blessings.” Governor Chatto warned Boholanos not to believe any instructions to gather for the promise of money alleged to come from the Capitol since these do not correspond with the protocol the provincial government observes in coordinating visits to municipal and barangay local government units, noting that there is always official and prior notice to town and barangay leaders, whenever he or other provincial government officials conduct visits. The governor also clarified that it is not the provincial government’s policy to gather people to a meeting place with the sole promise of monetary handouts. He added that the provincial government only gathers people in accordance with official activities, such as the implementation of national and local government programs. He said that such dirty tactics cannot be anything else but the work of political opponents since these would only serve to deceive the people and to frustrate and draw away supporters of the Chatto-Lim Administration. “Dirty tactics are just that. Dirty tactics, period. They won’t accomplish anything good,” Chatto said. Addressing his political rivals who would resort to such strategies, he added, “Let the people be. Let the people decide and let God be our guide.” (With reports from JLV/EDCom)