The raid on the Peña ancestral home in Pulupandan was based on a search warrant granted by the court, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas yesterday said.
“Abusive behavior by public servants will not be tolerated. Pulupandan, like the rest of the country, is a no wang-wang zone,” Roxas said in a text message to the DAILY STAR.
Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said he and the people of Negros Occidental highly commend the firm commitment of President Benigno Aquino and Roxas for peaceful, clean and honest elections in the province.
“We laud as well the steadfast and swift action of the top PNP leadership and other law enforcement agencies,” he said.
But Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez Jr. called the raid uncalled for, and a political harassment against Pulupandan Mayor Magdaleno Peña.
Peña is a relative and supporter of Alvarez, who is running for governor against Marañon.
“What is the basis for the raid?” Alvarez asked.
Alvarez said Peña appeared to be a target of harassment just because he fought with the governor.
Peña had scored the governor for the purchase of alleged overpriced sheep and challenged him to a debate. He also challenged Marañon’s chief of staff, Jose Ma. Valencia, to a fistfight.
However, Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz, police director for Western Visayas, denied claims that the raid was politically-motivated.
“Trabaho lang ito, walang personalan (This is just work, nothing personal)”, he stressed.
“We are here to follow a court order, and we are apolitical…We will implement the law without fear or favor”, said Cruz, who was also joined by Senior Supts. Keith Ernard Singian, Mario Espino and Ricardo de la Paz, as well as Supt. Mario Baquiran, 6th Special Action Battalion commander, in supervising the raid.
Meanwhile, Provincial Elections Supervisor Wil Arceño said the raid was a purely police operation, and the COMELEC has no jurisdiction over Peña, who is not running for public office in the May 13 polls.*CPG/GPB