Vigil held for Angat vice mayor accused of kidnapping
ANGAT, BULACAN — This town’s church leaders, local officials and residents staged a prayer vigil for Vice Mayor Guilberto Santos on Saturday night to protest the allegedly false claims linking him to a kidnapping group.
The vice mayor, described by many here as a former activist, had gone into hiding after about a hundred policemen deployed by Camp Crame raided Santos’ house at 3:30 a.m. on Mar. 13. The police enforced a search warrant issued by a Cabanatuan City court due to information linking Santos to a crime organization.
The police reported seizing weapons from the house, which Mayor Leonardo De Leon believes were planted.
Fr. Rodolfo Cruz, parish priest of Sta. Rita De Cacia church in Barangay (village) Binagbag where Santos lives, urged the community to help Santos overcome his trials, asserting that the vice mayor had “never been involved in anything criminal since he started serving our town in 1994.”
Cruz also urged Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police, to dig deeper into the allegations and ferret out the truth.
Lawyer Theresa Villafuerte, Santos’ sister, had challenged the information used to issue a search warrant, claiming that the police informant was a former New People’s Army (NPA) member who was arrested by the police on Feb. 23 for robbery. The informant had also been linked to a Laguna kidnap-for-ransom group.
In her motion to quash the information used for the warrant, Villanueva also described the operation as “overkill,” for sending a hundred policemen in 27 private vehicles to enforce a search.
Mayor De Leon, who joined the vigil, said the police informant used to work in the office of the vice mayor but was dismissed.
The mayor also asked Dela Rosa to investigate the raid itself. “I was there during the raid. They didn’t allow me inside the house. They arrived at the vice mayor’s house wearing bonnets, and changed into their uniforms only when they were inside the premises. They were caught on CCTV cameras,” De Leon said. /je
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