MANILA, Philippines – Claiming he is a victim of a political war being waged by Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco against his political foes, a barangay chairman from the said city is seeking the help of President Duterte in a last-minute attempt to bail him out from possible jail time arising from a non-bailable case filed against him.
Before a select group of media representatives, Wilfredo Mariano, chairman of Barangay Tangos, Navotas City, presented a letter he sent to President Duterte, Interior Dept. Secretary Eduardo Ano and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, seeking assistance regarding a kidnapping case filed against him and two others by a supporter of Tiangco.
The case, according to Mariano stemmed from an incident which occurred during the last elections.
Mariano narrated sometime in May 13, 2019 a group of men came to his office with someone in tow whom the group claimed engaged in vote-buying and then the two immediate left he said.
The suspected vote-buyer was later identified as Rommel Sopera who was wearing a t-shirt bearing the name of then mayoralty candidate Tiangco.
Sopera a driver of Navotas City Hall, denied being engaged in vote-buying and was only delivering food to Tiangco’s poll watchers.
With no complainant against him, Mariano said Sopera then decided to file a complaint against those who brought him to the barangay hall, claiming he was brought against his will and that his cellphone and money were taken by the group.
Mariano said he even assisted Sopera in filing his complaint and had two of his barangay tanod accompany him to get his motorcycle which left near the voting precinct.
However, after two months, Mariano said he received a subpoena stating he was being charged with kidnapping, illegal detention, robbery and violation of Omnibus Election Code, along with two others, former congressional candidate Rico de Guzman, lawyer of PDP-Laban and who ran against Tiangco in 2013, and Rolando Morato, driver of the van which brogh Sopera to the Barangay Hall.
Early this month, Mariano said he received a resolution signed by the city prosecutor Rennet Evangelista recommending the filing of kidnapping charges against him and Morato.
De Guzman was exonerated as it was never established he was even near the vicinity where the incident happened.
At that juncture, Mariano said he sought the help of Tiangco, who in turn asked him to give him the papers concerning the case.
After two days, Tiangco allegedly asked him to come to his office and told him to just provide the names of the group who brought Sopera to him (Mariano) and he would help him.
“Mabigat itong kaso mo. Mahirap ito. Ituro mo na lang yung dalawa pang kasama mo para maayos natin ito” Tiangco accordingly told him Mariano said.
“If the court upholds that, and from what we’ve heard, a judge is already waiting for this case then I am facing arrest,” Mariano said in Filipino.
“And that is why I am calling on the President, the DILG and the DOJ to please investigate the incident. I have done nothing wrong except maybe to fail Mayor Toby Tiangco in his personal battle against his political foes,” Mariano said. (IAMIGO/Currentph.com)