House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte (6th from left) with mayoral candidates Sheila Saratan, Talisay Mayor Eric Saratan, Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva (Neg. Occ., 2nd District), Rep. Josephine Sato (Mindoro), Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer (Neg. Occ. 4th District), Deputy Speaker Neptali "Boyet" Gonzales II and Board Member Rolando Ponsica (l-r) at the Talisay gathering of Roxas-Robredo supporters yesterday*
Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday rallied a formidable gathering of officials and candidates supporting Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas and his running mate Leni Robredo to ensure that the tandem wins big in vote-rich Negros Occidental.
“This is not a show of force, we are already a force to reckon with,” said Marañon, who denied that the gathering was held in anticipation of the visit of Grace Poe, survey frontrunner in the presidential race, and her runningmate Chiz Escudero, to Negros Occidental on Friday.
Marañon said 23 mayors of Negros Occidental are supporting Roxas and Robredo, 17 of whom were among those who joined about 400 supporters of the tandem at the Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay City yesterday.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, who was at the upbeat gathering of about 400 core Roxas and Robero supporters, said the latest Social Weather Station survey released yesterday shows the tandem within striking distance to a win.
“Why would I bail him out? I don’t know him.”
This was what Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said yesterday as he debunked allegations of murder suspect Jacklyn Villaquer, alias Golden, that he was the one who provided the P60,000 for his bail on illegal possession of firearms charges.
Marañon said he suspects that politics came into the picture, in his being dragged into the mess of Villaquer.
Villaquer, who is now detained at the La Castellana Bureau of Jail Management and Penology detention facility, faces two counts of murder, in connection with the assassination of Negros Occidental Board Member Renato Malabor and his bodyguard, Leody Jomilla.
Before his arrest for murder, Villaquer has been arrested last year for illegal possession of firearms.
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Cops muzzle guns of poll bets
BY JUDY F. PARTLOW
The Philippine National Police in Negros Oriental continues with its muzzle-taping of firearms owned by local candidates who are running for elective posts in the May 9 polls.
Acting provincial police director, Senior Supt. Harris Fama, said the activities, held at the towns and cities in the province, is in support of the PNP’s campaign for a S.A.F.E. , or Secure And Fair Elections, 2016.
The candidates or incumbent local officials seeking re-election have cooperated with the police as a gesture of support, Fama said.