DIRTY TRICK FOILED
“I WAS fooled.”
This was part of the statement made by a namesake of Vice Mayor Belen T. Fernandez, who is running for mayor of Dagupan, when she withdrew her candidacy a day after unwittingly filing a certificate of candidacy (COC), also for mayor.
Sixty six-year old Belen Tamondong Fernandez, a widow and resident of Sabangan Sur in Barangay Bonuan Gueset, executed an affidavit before Atty. Victoria Cabrera withdrawing her candidacy and narrated how she ended up at the Commission on Election (Comelec) office last October 5 where she filed her COC.
The widow narrated in her affidavit that it was ex-Kagawad Nan Soy and a certain “Uding” who approached her in front of her house morning of October 5 and told her Mayor Benjamin Lim wanted to speak to her.
Curious why the mayor would want to talk to her, she agreed to go with the two men who then brought her to a fastfood restaurant at the A.B. Fernandez Avenue junction where a “stout man”, whom she later learned was Nick Aquino, was waiting with the group’s breakfast already served.
After breakfast, the three men brought Fernandez to the mayor’s house on Guilig Street where Lim personally thanked her for her “name”, which he said would be a big help to them. In return, the mayor allegedly promised Fernandez that she will be taken care of and will be given her own house, a grand vacation and a motorcycle for her son.
After that, she was taken to the house of Soy in Bonuan Gueset to rest.
In the afternoon, Fernandez said she was taken to the Magic Club along Guilig Street where “Kagawad Nan Soy and his companions made me sign a document”.
She saw that it was a COC for mayor only after signing the document.
Then she was taken to a lawyer whose office is at the 2nd Floor of the Magsaysay Fish Market along A.B. Fernandez Avenue, after which at the police station where she supposed they claimed a police clearance.
The Comelec office was the next stop “where they made me file the document”.
City Elections Officer Remarque Ravanzo said he accepted the COC of Belen Tamondong Fernandez because it had the required documentary stamp and notarized by a notary public, stressing that this is a ministerial function of his office.
There were reports that Fernandez is not a registered voter of Dagupan, a requirement that Ravanzo did not check at the time of her COC filing.
After filing, Fernandez was again brought to the same fastfood restaurant for a meal and then brought back to the house of Soy.
Getting worried and eager to go home, Fernandez called her son who was working at that time but later came to fetch her.
Once back at home, Fernandez narrated her day to her son and with both of them worried about the repercussions of what had just happened, they sought the advice of one of their barangay kagawads, Albert Gregorio, who in turn referred them to Marlyn Manaois Reyna, a friend and herself a candidate in the ticket of Vice Mayor Fernandez.
“I told her (Marlyn Manaois-Reyna) that I was fooled and that I was made to sign a document which I did not know was a certificate of candidacy and that I never have an intention to run as mayor of Dagupan,” Fernandez said in her affidavit.
Vice Mayor Fernandez has formed a panel headed by Atty. Farah Decano, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Pangasinan chapter, who are now studying the filing of a formal complaint against those persons named by the woman to be behind the plot, which was evidently intended to muddle the candidacy of Fernandez.