BTAO employee accuses councilor of ‘gun threat’

Abner Salvallon (left) and Maj. Junjie Liba at a press conference on Thursday.*

A Bacolod Traffic Authority Office job order worker has filed a complaint for grave threats against a city councilor for allegedly threatening him with a gun on Wednesday , October 18.

Abner Salvallon filed the complaint against Councilor Al Victor Espino before Police Station 8, and is also eyeing the filing of administrative charges against the city official before the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Salvallon said he filed the complaint so if anything happens to him someone will answer for it.

Espino denied threatening Salvallon with a gun in the presence of Maj. Junjie Liba, BTAO head. If he threatened Salvallon with a gun why did Liba who is a police officer not arrest him? Espino asked.

He said the failure of Liba to act on the matter if true would make him liable for dereliction of duty.

“I encourage them to file a case because I will respond accordingly,” Espino said, adding that when he is found not guilty he will file counter charges.

Espino also alleged that there is corruption going on at the BTAO.

Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said he asked Col. Noel Aliño, city police director, to conduct an impartial and comprehensive investigation into the incident.

The city police director will be submitting a report to him on both allegations as soon as the investigation is completed, Benitez said.

Whoever is found guilty will face the consequences, he has always been very clear that he will not tolerate corruption and malpractices, Benitez said.

Salvallon, 59, in his complaint filed at Police Station 8, said Espino had gone to the BTAO Office at the Bacolod City police headquarters in Barangay Singcang-Airport at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

He said when Espino entered the BTAO he was shouting. Then when he touched the councilor’s hand he said “Y….a hindi ko pag hikapa kay indi taya miguhay. Indi taka ya kilala. Ikapa ko bala liwat kay tiruhon taka (S* of b*tch, don’t touch me because we are not friends, I don’t know you. Touch me again and I’ll shoot you),” and lifted his shirt to show his firearm, Salvallon claimed.

Salvallon said the incident was witnessed by Psyche Rasco, Mary Ann De la Torre and Liba.

The JO worker said he did not know who Espino was at first.

Espino, in response, said if he threatened Salvallon with a gun and violated the election gun ban why did Liba not arrest him.

“If I had a gun then why was I not accosted? he asked.

Espino said he went to the BTAO because of a “corruption” incident.

The BTAO had impounded a motorcycle of a friend’s nephew because the persons who had borrowed it were caught without helmets and allegedly had no driver’s license, Espino said.

Espino said he did not go to the BTAO to negotiate for the release of the motorcycle but to bring to Liba’s attention an alleged corruption incident.

The nephew of his friend who is a college student had gone to the BTAO to recover his motorcycle when someone wearing a BTAO shirt told him that his vehicle could be released if he paid P1,500.

The student paid the P1,500 and the motorcycle was released to him from the BTAO holding area. No one stopped him as he drove away, Espino said.

However, shortly after the student received a call from an alleged BTAO employee who told him that they knew where he lived and that he would be arrested and charged with carnapping, Espino added.

When the student went back to the BTAO he was detained and asked to pay a fine again, and that was when he called for help, the councilor said.

Espino said he believes there is corruption going on at the BTAO, which is being tolerated.

He said Liba admitted that a similar incident happened before.

“My frustration is borne out of the fact that the such practices are not acted on,” the councilor said.

Espino said when he arrived at the BTAO a man who met him touched him and said “councilor what are you doing here?” He said he did not mind the person and proceeded to enter the BTAO.

However, when the man touched him again Espino admitted that he cussed because he does not like being touched.

Liba said they are investigating the incident involving the student and are reviewing CCTV footage as he claimed he paid a man wearing a BTAO uniform outside the police headquarters.

He did not act on the fact that Espino had a gun as the incident happened so fast and he was focused on pacifying, Liba said.

Liba said it was also possible that Espino had papers to carry the gun and if he arrested him the situation would only escalate.*

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