Detained former Mayor Celso Regencia of Iligan City, who recently surrendered after evading law enforcers for months, has filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) through his wife, Marissa, seeking reelection and teaming up with a Roman Catholic priest who will run for vice mayor.
Father Jeemar Lucero Vera Cruz and his colleagues from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) filed their COC on Thursday backing the detained Regencia, who filed his candidacy through his wife on Wednesday afternoon.
Vera Cruz has been preaching at the Diocese of Iligan for almost 30 years. Regencia’s challenger is Rep. Vicente Belmonte of Iligan City, who is running under the Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Regencia has yet to answer allegations of arrested suspect Dominador Tumala, who turned a state witness, who pinpointed the former mayor as the mastermind in Belmonte’s convoy ambush on December 11, 2014 that left at least three persons killed and injured others including Belmonte.
The complaint was filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Northern Mindanao in collaboration with the Misamis Oriental police and the National Bureau of Investigation at the Misamis Oriental Prosecutors Office in Cagayan de Oro City.
According to Belmonte, the charges against Regencia is “strong enough” to try him, even if the administrative case against the former mayor has been dropped.