01 Feb Iligan City Mayor Allegedly Involved in Lawmaker Ambush Set Free
In a report from the Inquirer, Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia was freed from detention after the regional trial court in Quezon City found no basis for accusing him for allegedly masterminding the ambush of former lawmaker Vicente Belmonte.
It was in 2013 when Regencia got elected as mayor bearing the promise of eliminating corruption as well as proliferation of illegal gambling and illegal drugs in Iligan City. After more than a year as a mayor, he was accused of being involved in the ambush of then 3-term Iligan City Rep. Vicente Belmonte’s convoy last December 11, 2014. Belmonte survived, however, unfortunately his aides were killed with 3 others wounded. It was thought that Belmonte was to challenge Regencia in the mayoral race for 2016.
Multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges were filed to Regencia who denied that he was the person behind the ambush.
Then came August of 2015, the arrest of Regencia was ordered by the regional trial court in Initao, Misamis Oriental. After he went hiding, by mid of October, Regencia surfaced to file his candidacy for mayor, then later turned himself in to the authorities.
Even being in detention, Regencia still held meetings among key city officials inside the jail’s premise. He even won last year as his second term while being in jail. His political allies also won and dominated the city council.