File photo of Cebu Mayor Lakambini Reluya who was hurt in an ambush last Jan. 22, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Mayor Lakambini Reluya's Facebook page)


CEBU CITY — The Cebu Provincial Police Office (CCPO) on Thursday said San Fernando, Cebu Mayor Lakambini “Neneth” Reluya is not in the drug watch list “as far as the provincial level” is concerned.

Senior Supt. Manuel Abrugena, chief of the CPPO, told the Philippine News Agency, however, that the special investigation task group (SITG) formed by Police Regional Office-7 Director Debold Sinas is considering “all angles” in the investigation of the ambush incident involving the mayor and her group.

“Sa provincial level, wala po siya (sa drug watch list). Lahat ng angles ay pinag-aaralan natin. So far, progressing naman ang status ng investigation. May lead na po tayo (In the provincial level, she is not in the drug watch list. We are studying all angles. So far, our investigation is progressing),” Abrugena said.

The "SITG Reluya" is determined to finish the investigation within the time frame (two weeks) set by Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde.

Supt. Virgilio Bayon-on, "SITG Reluya" spokesperson, said they are closely watching the persons of interest.

The lady town official is now recuperating in an undisclosed hospital along with Giovanni Perez and Tolentin Jefer, while her husband, Association of Barangay Council (ABC) president Ricardo “Nonoy” Reluya, their driver, Allan Bayot and staff Ricky Monterona are scheduled for post-mortem operation by the medico-legal officers of the Philippine National Police.

Meanwhile, the political rival of the Reluyas, businessman Ruben Feliciano, went to the media to deny speculations that his camp was behind the ambush of the mayor and her companions.

Feliciano, however, claimed in a radio interview that Reluya “won in the last elections using drug money” and such was a “public knowledge in their town.”

The businessman also denied the report that he has a “kill list” that allegedly includes the Reluyas and other personalities in the town.

Feliciano is challenging Reluya for the mayoral post in the coming May elections. Former town mayor Antonio “Abe” Canoy, a long-time political rival of the Reluyas, is Feliciano’s tandem for vice mayor.

Feliciano is the president of First Sangat SF International Port Corporation, the proponent of the PH12.5-billion international port project in Barangay Sangat, San Fernando.

He filed criminal and administrative charges against the mayor for allegedly suspending the project last year to favor another contractor.

Aside from the mayor, named respondents in the case Feliciano filed before the Ombudsman Visayas, were Reluya’s husband, Teodoro Genaro Abastillas Reyes, the president of Melekon Contractors, Inc.

In the meantime, Abrugena told the PNA that he directed Senior Insp. Arve Albuis, chief of San Fernando police station, to provide security details to all the town’s candidates in the upcoming elections who “received information they are targets of assassination.”

This, as Tuburan Mayor Aljun Diamante, League of Municipalities of the Philippines-Cebu Chapter president, expressed concern about the spate of attacks in Cebu that involved local chief executives.

In May last year, Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot, a retired police general included by President Rodrigo Duterte in the narco-list, survived an ambush at his town’s wharf.

In September also last year, Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco was killed while sleeping inside the municipal hall.

In February 2018, Blanco’s lawyer-nephew, Ronda Vice Mayor Jonnah John Ungab, was killed after attending a court hearing in this city’s hall of justice.

The president of LMP in Cebu said he is asking the police to ensure the safety of the local officials in Cebu.

“Being the LMP president for Cebu Chapter and in behalf of all municipal mayors, we are sending our deepest condolences to Mayor Neneth Reluya. This is a very painful incident to her due to the death of her husband, Nonoy Reluya,” Diamante said. (PNA)