Calbayog City, Samar: Vice President Jejomar Binay promised that there will be no intimidation under his administration if he is elected President, as he claimed that his supporters received threats because they attended his campaign rally here.
Binay and some of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance’s (UNA) senatorial candidates held a short campaign rally in Calbayog City on Friday morning, which was attended by over 300 people according to the party’s provincial coordinator.
“Alam ko kaya kayo kokonti dito ay pinagsabihan at tinatakot kayo na pumunta dito. Congratulations [I know that there are few of you here because you were told and threatened about going here],” Binay said in his speech.
“Sobra na, tama na. Bakit naman ang patayan dito, ilan na ang napapatay? Wag ho kayong matakot, wala hong mangyayari kung tayo ay matatakot [Enough is enough. Why are there killings here, how many were already killed? Do not be afraid, nothing will happen if we will be afraid],” he added.
But the Samar Police Provincial Office said it has not received any report that Binay’s supporters received threats.
The provincial police also said that killings have been reduced and that a task group was formed in October 2015 for the elections.
“Pangako ko po sa inyo mga tiga-Calbayog, ‘pag ako naging pangulo, it will be a rule of law, hindi rule of takutan. Wala ho tayong takutan [I promise you who are in Calbayog, if I become President, the rule of law will prevail, not the rule of intimidation. There will be no intimidation],” Binay added.
After the campaign rally in Calbayog City, UNA went on a motorcade to Northern Samar.
Provincial board member Alvin Abejuela, who is the party’s provincial coordinator, told reporters in an interview, “Priority din dito kaso medyo may mga reasons kami kung bakit nagmadali dito sa Calbayog [This is also a priority, but we have reasons why we had to make it quick here in Calbayog].”
When asked if it was about security, Abejuela refused to comment.
During his speech, Binay also said, “Mr. Secretary, Secretary ka na ng DILG, asan na ang resulta [ng imbestigasyon]sa mga pinatay? Involved ka ba, o ano ba? [Mr. Secretary, you are already the DILG Secretary, where are the results of the investigation on the killings. Are you involved, or what?].”
DILG is the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the incumbent Secretary of which is Mel Senen Sarmiento who was a former Calbayog Mayor.
When sought for comment, Sarmiento told the Manila Times, “My people can attest to my person when I was still involved in local politics. My politics is providing hope by focusing on development, never the rule of fear.”
“Right after I assumed my post, one of the very first orders I made to CPNP (Chief, Philippine National Police) is to address the killings there. We likewise conducted a command conference in the area with the CPNP to address the said issue. A ROSTG was created and SAF was deployed as well and recently PAG members were arrested,” he added. ROSTG is Regional Operations Special Task Group, and; SAF is Special Action Force.
“They should stop blaming others if they can only gather a few people for their rallies,” Sarmiento said.
Binay also promised to uplift the lives of every Filipino, just like he did in Makati.