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Asingan mayor denies interference

ASINGAN—The acting mayor of Asingan, Joshua Viray, is reportedly in

hot water for allegedly hiding one of his armed bodyguards who figured
in a confrontation with a newly elected Sangguniang Kabataan (SK)
barangay chairman in the town over a vote-buying issue.

But Viray belied the reports that he interfered in the election of officers of the town’s
SK federation and that he allegedly doled out cash to SK chairmen to vote for his
preferred candidate for SK federation president

A report by Radyo Dagupan on Thursday, stated that Viray denied that there was a
commotion at noon on May 29 inside the Sapigao gym after the election which,
according to the town’s police chief, Chief Inspector Demosthenes Magnaan,
involved the SK Chairman of Toboy, John Von Manangan, 21, and one of of the
mayor’s bodyguards.

Viray reportedly pulled out his bodyguard, who was carrying a handgun,
from the confrontation and drove him away before the police could
identify him.

Viray was named acting mayor after Mayor Heide Chua and Vice Mayor
Carlos Lorez Jr. were suspended by the Ombudsman for placing their
pictures on the brand new municipal ambulance purchased by the
municipal government. Viray was then a municipal councilor.

Magnaan said Viray may be charged with obstruction of justice if the

unidentified man is not surrendered to the police.

The bodyguard, with a handgun tucked on his waist, allegedly angrily

confronted Mananganfor allegedly not voting for the acting mayor's
candidate as president of the SK federation president after reportedly
receiving ₱5,000 for his vote.

During the lunch break, the bodyguard reportedly approached

Manangan and told him that Kagawad Joselito Viray, brother of the
acting mayor, wanted to talk to him.

When Manangan ignored this, the security man told him off, "Ba't iba
ang binoto mo? Pakibalik mo ang pera."
Manangan said the money was used to buy votes purportedly to ensure
the election of Viray's candidate’s as SK municipal federation president,
which will qualify him as ex-officio member of the town’s Sangguniang

Police chief Magnaan, who was in the vicinity, accosted the bodyguard,
seized the handgun, a Norinco Cal. 99mm. pistol with an inserted
magazine that was loaded with 10 live ammunition.

But before Magnaan could bring the man to the police headquarters,
Acting Mayor Viray appeared and led the unidentified bodyguard away.

"Bigla na lang silang umalis pagka-confiscate ko ng baril ng security

man," said Magnaan.

Magnaan said based on initial information gathered by the Asingan

police, the suspect is an ex-soldier from Tayug.

In his sworn statement to the police, Manangan admitted that ₱5,000

was given by the acting mayor to persuade him into voting his

Magnaan said the SK municipal federation is reportedly considering

filing a complaint of corruption against Viray.

After the incident, Magnaan wrote to the town’s Human

Resources Office to name all security personnel assigned to Viray and
asked Camp Crame to check if the handgun seized from the suspect was
licensed. (Leonardo Micua)