Government and police officials in the 6 th district of Negros Occidental yesterday disputed claims that the situation in southern Negros is getting dangerous.
Rep. Mercedes Alvarez (Neg. Occ., 6 th district) yesterday said “Everything seems to be peaceful”, after visiting the remote and hinterland barangays of Canlamay and Balicotoc in Ilog, La-a and Molobolo in Cauayan, and Camindangan in Sipalay City.
Philip Arles and Frank Britanico, son and brother-ion-law, respectively, of the murdered Kabankalan Regional Trial Court Judge Henry Arles, had appeared before the media in bullet proof vests and a kevlar helmet during a press conference Wednesday in Bacolod City. They said they were in such outfits to dramatize the situation in the 6 th district, that they hope reaches the attention of President Benigno Aquino III and other national officials.
“I have no reason to be afraid of going around as I don't step on the toes of others,” Alvarez, who attended the 15 th charter anniversary of Kabankalan City, with Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and several board members of Negros Occidental, said.
She also stressed that she does not have a bodyguard, except her mother, who is already a senior citizen, and a driver, in going around.
If they think that the sixth district is a dangerous place, that is their perception, Alvarez said.
Judge Arles was assassinated on April 24, while on his way home to Ilog, from Kabankalan City. Three of the six suspects have confessed their participation in the killing of the judge. They are now under the protective custody of the National Bureau of Investigations.
Kabankalan City Mayor Isidro Zayco, who also disputed the claims, said everybody is entitled to their own opinion and perception.
Supt. Calixto Mabugat, Kabankalan police chief, said they have solved high-profile crimes that took place in the city, including the P2 million robbery-hold-up, with the arrest of the suspects.
“The peace and order situation in Kabankalan is very normal” Mabugat added.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. , who was seated with Alvarez and Zayco during an interview with the media at the Kabankalan Farmer's Center, however, refused to comment on the claims that southern Negros is getting dangerous.
Alvarez reiterated that they are ready to face whatever charges will be hurled against their family.
Her brother, Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez, was linked to the killing of Judge Arles.
“But how can we face charges if we have not received any notice whatsoever” she asked.
Asked if they will surrender her brother to the NBI, Alvarez asked “Why would we surrender someone if there is no arrest warrant whatsoever?” If there is any, then we will face it squarely,” she added. * GPB