Fugitive Iligan City mayor surrenders

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ILIGAN CITY: Suspended Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia, the alleged mastermind of the 2014 ambush of Iligan Rep. Vicente Belmonte and his convoy, surrendered to a Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge here on Monday morning.

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Regencia was turned over by RTC Judge Arthur Abundiente to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology at 8:45 a.m. after his surrender.

Police officials, jail war- dens and Regencia could not be reached for imme- diate comments.

Lawmaker Belmonte, who survived the ambush, welcomed the submission of Regencia to authorities.

“I am happy for that [the surrender], after all, we can put a closure of the case,” Belmonte told The Manila Times.

The lawmaker, who will seek for the mayoral seat in this city, believed that Regencia surrendered so he can file his COC.

“Because under our election rules, a fugitive cannot file his certificate of candidacy until he surrenders, so, now the status is that he is not anymore a fugitive, he can file through authorization [or]special power of attorney,” he added.

The Commission on Elections has scheduled the filing of certificate of candidacy nationwide from October 12 until 16 (Friday).

The police are yet to issue an official statement over Regencia’s surrender. The Iligan city Mayor was in hiding since multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges were filed against him last August at the Misamis Oriental Prosecutor’s Office in connection with the ambush of Belmonte and his convoy.

Three of Belmonte’s escorts were killed while the other members of his convoy including the lawmaker were injured. They were on their way home to Iligan City from Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental when the incident occurred.

Aside from Regencia, other indicted suspects were Amador Baller, Rogelio Pitos Sr., Romeo Suganub, Dominador Tumala, Peejay Capangpangan, Alfeo Arnoco, Julito O. Ansad, Dodo Silvano, Rogelio Pitos Jr. and several John Does.

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