Baguio mayor tightens city hall security amid threats

BAGUIO CITY— The security at the city hall of Baguio has been tightened starting Thursday as Mayor Benjamin Magalong beefs up his personal security following information that a “hitman” is after him over his revelations at the Senate inquiry.

“A friend of mine gave a call that he received a word from a hitman, na sinabi na namonitor (that claimed monitored) a certain group na bigla na lang may kinausap na (which suddenly talked to a) certain Rommel who is a hitman na target ang mayor ng Baguio (that the target is the mayor of Baguio),” Magalong said in a late afternoon press conference on Friday.

Magalong said he also got phone calls cursing him but when he tried calling the numbers back, they are no longer active.

Magalong testified at the Senate inquiry relating to the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), where he was invited as a resource speaker relating to his knowledge as former chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

In several hearings, he dropped names of persons, police officers who have been investigated by the CIDG about their involvement in the illegal drug trade.

Aside from his security, City administrator Bonifacio dela Peña has ordered to beef up the security at the city hall, not just to secure the mayor, but the employees as well.

From eight entry points, only three are left open with bag-checks conducted in all bags of all people entering the city hall.

Three members of the city mobile force of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) have also been assigned to secure the city hall. A K-9 dog is also going around the city hall building as part of the security measure.

Dito sa city hall probably because of threats at minabuti ng ating city administrator to enhance yung security (Probably because of the threats, the city administrator opted to enhance the security here at city hall),” he said.

He, however, said the security in the city hall has been very loose which is proper to be heightened for everyone’s protection.

“It’s for the protection of everyone. If you go to the other local government units, you will see that they have tight security. It’s about time that we really have to implement some security measures here at city hall,” Magalong said.

“As you can see, its not too strict, plain view only, there is no harassment,” he said.

He added that Baguio residents might not be used to it because it is the first time it will happen but he asked for the public’s understanding.

He also assured the public that people can still approach him in the office or on the road without a bodyguard.

Prayer rally for Mayor’s safety

Information provided to the media on Friday night said an ecumenical prayer rally for faith and trust will be held on Sunday at the Malcolm Square.

“All church leaders in Baguio will pray for Mayor Benjie and his family during these threatening times,” the advisory said.

Magalong said he just came from a meeting with market vendors in one of the barangays at the central business district.

“Don’t you worry, do not worry about the security of your mayor,” he said.

Magalong, however, appealed to people who are attempting to hurt him to spare his family.

Siguraduhin niyo lang walang magalaw sa aking pamilya at siguraduhin niyo lang na pag may attempt kayo eh di ako magsurvive dahil pag ako nag survive ako na nagsasabi sa inyo, ‘All hell will break loose’. You know my reputation (Make sure you do not touch my family and make sure that if you attempt on my life that I will not survive because I tell you all hell will break loose ‘All hell will break loose’)” he said.   Liza Agoot / PNA –