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Php 1.2M in Boxes - INQ

In Catanduanes, Army and Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) personnel manning a checkpoint seized P1.2 million in cash from four persons in a government-owned vehicle in Caramoran town 50 kilometers from the capital town of Virac.

Senior Supt. Rodegelio Gerero, Catanduanes police director, said members of the 22nd Cafgu Battalion of the 9th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Inalmasinan flagged down a black Isuzu D-max (SHE-355) registered to the Caramoran local government at about 9 p.m. Sunday.

In the vehicle were Provincial Board Member Natalio Popa Jr., who is running for councilor, Caramoran casual employee Jose Tabinas and four other men.

It was from the four men that the cash totaling more than P1.2 million, contained in two Zest-O boxes and a plastic bag, as well as pocket calendars and pictures of Popa’s wife, Caramoran Mayor Agnes Popa, and Rep. Joseph Santiago, a gubernatorial candidate, were found.

Board Member Popa reportedly disappeared while the soldiers were busy counting the money.

The cash has been turned over to the Caramoran police pending the filing of formal charges against Popa for violation of election laws.

Checkpoint

About 11 hours earlier, Army soldiers manning a checkpoint in Bagamanoc town intercepted four men who were later found to be carrying P59,000 in cash intended for buying votes.

Members of the Alpha Co. of the 83rd Infantry Battalion led by 2nd Lt. Joseph Patrick Jaque arrested the four men after they were stopped at a checkpoint in Barangay Magsaysay at 10 a.m. on May 9.

The four were on two Honda TMX motorcycles, one of them without a plate number.

The soldiers found in the men’s possession cash stapled with the names of Noel Vitalicio, Gerry Pelagio and Tito Diaz, all candidates for town councilor. The cash was turned over to the police as evidence.

By Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inquirer Southern Luzon, Inquirer Mindanao
First Posted 04:19:00 05/11/2010

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