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Sunday Post: Bien Unido Mayor Niño Rey Boniel last week ordered an immediate investigation into the strafing incident involving his political rival, but could not restrain his cynicism on its authenticity.           

 â€œImmediately after I was informed of the incident, I directed the Bien Unido PNP to undertake a no-nonsense investigation because I want to know the truth and more importantly to prevent a repeat of this incident,” Boniel said in a statement emailed to media outlets.           

Last Feb. 17, Councilor Rogelio Villarias reported that unidentified armed men strafed his residence. No one was reported injured as the bullets struck only the gate.           

Boniel said he found it surprising that even before the police could begin its investigation, Villarias already had a suspect in mind which is the mayor.           

As basis for his allegations, Boniel said Villarias pointed to a case supposed to be filed against him by a political opponent.           

Boniel also noted that the strafing incident already came out in a local paper identified with Villarias’ patron before the start of the investigation.           

The mayor said he did not know that Villarias is “a frustrated script-writer.”           

 â€œThe script is interesting but it is stupid. Why will I order the strafing of his residence when I know that I will be the logical suspect? If there is anybody who wants him safe, it is me not only because I want to maintain peace and order in my town but because I want him to be there when the last ballot is counted,” he stressed.           

Boniel said there is no need for me to resort to cheap publicity stunts to advance his candidacy.           

 â€œI welcome the candidacy of Councilor Villarias because it releases me from the guilt feelings of helping him win in the last election. Now that he has shown his true colors, the people of Bien Unido want him out,” the mayor added.           

With Villarias’ candidacy, Boniel said he has given the people the chance to rectify the mistake they did in 2007 by rejecting his candidacy on May 10.           

The mayor also revealed a “positive side” to the issue.           

 â€œBecause he surfaced, land owners whom he victimized in Panglao have now come out to denounce him and ready to take legal action to make him account for his criminal acts if he fails to pay what is due them,” he added.           

Boniel said that now that his alleged victims have found Villarias, the mayor said “he will be very busy long after the election is over.”           

The mayor admitted that he is saddened that the town of Bien Unido was put in a bad light.           

 â€œBefore this incident, the only controversy involving the town was the actuations of the wife of a gubernatorial candidate in distributing cell phones without the proper courtesy of consulting the barangay captains if it was alright with them and informing the mayor out of respect for the office that he represents,” he said.           

Boniel said he has an “unsolicited advice” to Villarias who wants to become mayor.           

 â€œPlease observe the elementary courtesy of allowing our law enforcement agents to conduct an impartial and thorough investigation and refrain from making statements that preempt the results. The only people who do not wait for the official results are those who want to suppress the truth,” he concluded.

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