Mayor files multiple raps vs accuser

STO. TOMAS — Mayor Joselito Naguit said Tuesday he has filed a case of direct assault versus Zolio T. Briones, 83, who accused the mayor of allegedly mauling him last week.

Briones, of Barangay Sto. Niño Sapa, is also set to face libel and oral defamation charges.

Naguit told Sun.Star Pampanga that he contemplated on filing charges against the senior citizen after the latter did not stop from “discrediting his name and being a party to the political motives of his detractors.”

“Initially for humanitarian reasons I did not want to file any charges. But what he did in the media should be corrected and this is my way of making the truth known,” Naguit told Sun.Star Pampanga.

In his complaint dated September 20, 2012 of the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, Naguit said “on or about 10:00 in the morning of September 19, 2012, while on board my vehicle passing through Magsaysay Street, Barangay Sto. Niño Sapa, a male person blocked our path and uttered ‘A_i___l kang mayor ka, abusado ka magnanakaw at walang kang alam gawin dito sa bayan ng Sto. Tomas kaya hindi tayo umaasenso.’ Thereafter he stopped talking when together with my companion [we] descended from the vehicle and the said person fled away from the said place.”

A witness—one Donito Tongol, 32, a Municipal Government employee verified the incident—Naguit said he immediately reported it to local police and identified the elderly as Briones.

“Actually, I could have on the spot asked for police assistance at the time of the incident because it was really a direct assault pero hindi natin ginawa iyun. Later though, we got information that Briones was accompanied by my political opponents to police to file a complaint of physical injuries against me despite Tatang Zoilo’s insistence that I did not hit him. Sabi nga niya, ni hindi dumapo ang kamay ni mayor sa akin.

But reports in papers pictured a different scene na hawak daw ng mga security aide ko ang mga kamay niya at pinagsusuntok ko siya. I will never do that because I respect the elderly and everybody in this town.

Maski sinong mayor sa Pampanga I am sure ay hindi gagawin iyun.

Nevertheless, we have more witnesses who will confirm the incident,” Naguit told Sun.Star Pampanga.

Police records showed that Naguit allegedly hit Briones in different parts of his body while two of the mayor’s companions allegedly held his hands — which the mayor and his bodyguards denied.

The incident stemmed from a confrontation between Briones and a member of the mayor’s staff, asking the latter to remove a pile of sand blocking the front of the former’s driveway.

Naguit said there were bystanders who saw the incident and who could attest that no such manhandling happened.

He said Briones is also being pushed by his political rivals to discredit him and ruin his political name.

Naguit said it is very unfortunate that a senior citizen would figure in a complaint to redeem his honor. He said he has always been a supporter of the senior citizen chapters here and have faithfully accorded them their rights to a 1-percent budget allocation from the municipal government.

Based on a medical certificate dated September 19, 2012 signed by Dr. Hena Aldaba, resident physician of the Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital, Briones allegedly suffered contusions in his abdominal area.

Briones also said it was not the first time that he was hit by the mayor.

Briones recounted that in 1996, he was allegedly harassed by Naguit, saying that he was a critic of the latter. Briones was a former village chief of Sto. Niño from 1982 to 1986.

Naguit said no such physical abuse was done to Briones. He added that he did not hit Briones in the past and such issue would have been made public even then. Naguit also questioned the timeliness of Briones’s complaints, adding that he senses political motives behind the complaint.

“We would like to ferret out the truth and set things straight. We hope that with the filing of appropriate cases, we could be vindicated,” Naguit said.

Meanwhile, witnesses here agree with Naguit. One Carlito Canlas said that Briones had “lied” to the police, adding that no physical injury was accorded Briones during the incident. He said there were also people who can attest to what happened.

“The mayor exercised restraint even if Briones did not show his mild manners. There was no hitting or mauling that happened,” Canlas said.

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