BAYBAY CITY, Leyte – Re-electionist Mayor Carmen Loreto-Cari of the Liberal Party denied allegations her family was involved in the failed assassination attempt of her political rival during a press conference held at the city hall on Tuesday, May 7.
The incumbent Baybay City mayor said she may kill a rival, only if that rival was "winnable" or was an official.
“Why will we kill her, assassinate her, when she is not even an official? And we know very well that she is not going to win. Maybe if she were ‘winnable,’ pero wala eh, (Maybe if she were ‘winnable,' but she’s not)” said the 77-year-old mayor.
This was in response to allegations that her son, re-electionist Leyte 5th District Representative Boying Cari, sent men to have his mother's political rival killed.
Mayor Cari’s rival Marilou "Malot" Galenzoga of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) was almost killed on Monday, May 6.
“We were monitoring the PCOS final testing and sealing. We went to Bgy Balao. There were two men stationed in the classroom. We stayed there for about 5 minutes. They were wearing black jackets. Rex, my photographer, suddenly pushed me after one was about to pull out a gun. He pushed me away, and people came swarming to the men,” Galenzoga narrated to Rappler in Cebuano.
The UNA mayoral candidate brought in two of Congressman Boying Cari’s men to the Baybay City police station on the day of the incident, claiming that they attempted to kill her.
Her aides performed a citizen's arrest. They clobbered and subdued the men they claimed to be working for Congressman Cari. They brought the two men, identified as Lotgardo Razaga and Rodel Montajes, to the police station at 10:30 am. The men suffered cuts and bruises from the scuffle.
Photo by Jed Cortes
Confiscated from them were two revolver pistols, bullets, a digital camera, and a CIDG-CIS badge.
The guns were inspected by the police which later turned out to be unregistered. The men did not apply for an exemption to carry firearms from the Commission on Elections.
“One of them admitted to us that the Caris sent them,” said Galenzoga. “There were 6 hit men all in all, to be accompanied by one Baybayanon, and the plan was to kill me today,” she continued.
Inside the camera were videos of UNA rallies of the week.
Police placed them on hospital arrest at a nearby provincial hospital. Inquest proceedings are underway, said PO2 Christopher Baslan.
Hundreds of Galenzoga supporters gathered outside the police station to guard the suspects despite hearing rumors that the Caris would kill them.
Galenzoga is the Loreto-Cari family’s first political challenger in 32 years. Mayor Cari and her sons Boying and Mike have been swapping positions in Baybay City ever since.
The Baybay City Liberal Party slate and staff did not entertain interviews on the day of the attempted assassination.
The day after the incident, the Cari's camp said that challenger Galenzoga planted evidence on their men.
“We just sent the two to Bgy. Balao to get the serial numbers of the PCOS machines… These two persons were beaten and mauled by security accompanying Malot Galenzoga. After mauling them, they tucked guns on these persons,” explained Cari in a press conference aired in a local cable station.
“There’s no truth to these allegations made by Malot Galenzoga. They did this to get the sympathy of the voters,” he added.
Screengrab from Pioneer Cable TV, Channel 8
To prove that evidence was planted, the Cari camp projected two photos of Razaga, the first without a gun, and next with a pistol tucked in his pants.
Not the real story?
The metadata of these two photos indicated that the actual capture time of the photo showing Razaga with a gun was at 10:29 am and Razaga without a gun at 10:30 am.
At the police station, the suspects admitted ownership of the guns before a lawyer of the Caris came and instructed them to no longer entertain interviews.
“(Galenzoga) is a master of fraud and deception,” said Cari. “Our family respects the dignity of life. They are very desperate to do something like this.”
After being mum for an hour, Mayor Cari spoke in the press conference, "We have been in politics for several years, with several opponents, with strong opponents. But we were never accused of something like this, what she is accusing us, that we are killers. Why will we kill her? - Rappler.com
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