MANILA, Philippines – Two local candidates cried harassment over the police’s attempt to enforce what the bets claimed was an “illegal search warrant” in Tuao town in Cagayan province.
Police stormed the residences of gubernatorial candidate and incumbent congressman Manuel Bamba and the home of his brother, incumbent Tuao Mayor William Mamba, allegedly to search for illegal firearms.
“Ito, pumunta mga pulis at ang gustong isearch itong old house at ang bahay ko. Hindi iyan tama. Ginigipit nila kami,” said Mayor Mamba.
The Mambas claimed that the search warrant was illegal and was a clear case of political harassment by their rivals.
“That's a general search warrant. Si Jack Enrile, sila ang may kagagawan. Hindi ko papayagang mag-search sila. Over my dead body,” said Cong. Mamba.
The Mambas’ supporters blocked authorities from carrying out the search warrant.
Provincial Director, Police Senior Superintendent Moro Virgilio Lazo, maintained that the warrant was legal and was an order from their headquarters. He also stressed that they are not working for any candidate as alleged by the Mambas.
Soldiers of the 17th Infantry battalion also arrived to act as back up.
Aside from the Mambas, Lazo clarified that they applied warrants to search the residences of 3 other local bets namely Vice Gov. Leonides Fausto, Barangay Barancuag Captain Mayonito Fernandez, and Barangay San Luis Captain Villamor Sibayan.
However, police were only able to search the homes of Fausto and Sibayan. No firearms were found from Fausto’s home while police recovered M16, caliber 45 and long 22 rifle ammunitions from Sibayan’s house.
Police agreed to temporarily withdraw its troops to avoid any untoward incident, following an agreement between the Mambas’ legal counsels past 2 p.m.
“Within 10 days, pwede naming implement iyan. Pero as of now, para maiwasan ang gulo withdraw muna,” said Lazo.
“I understand the PNP na patutupad nila ang duty nila pero ang hiling lang namin tingnan naman nila kung tama yung ginagawa nila,” said Con. Mamba.
The Mambas said they will accept the search warrant only if it’s legal and the areas where the search will be enforced are stipulated. Report from Brigette Mayor, ABS-CBN Cagayan Valley