February 19, 2006

Dumalneg mayor figures in LIA fracas

After having parked at an undesignated area, a municipal mayor figured in another commotion at the Laoag International Airport with two security guards on February 10.

The incident, which had been recorded in a police blotter, started when the security guards, identified as Regie Raganit and Rodolfo Marquez confronted the owner of a vehicle parked in a no-parking area. The vehicle’s owner turned out to be Dumalneg Mayor Francis Espiritu.

Based on the testimony of the LIA guards, Raganit confronted Espiritu for his wrongly parked vehicle, to which the mayor allegedly identified himself as the local chief executive of Dumalneg, Ilocos Norte. The mayor’s identification of himself however did not deter Raganit from enforcing the no-parking zone. As the two got into a heated argument, Marquez approached them in an effort to assist his fellow guard and to pacify the mayor.

Marquez, however, got the mayor more irked after he reportedly uttered a remark saying as a mayor Espiritu should have known about the rules.

Mayor ka gayam apay dimo ammo’t paglintegan (You’re a mayor but why don’t you know the rules),” Marquez was reported to have said to Espiritu.

As the argument further worsened, Ronald Estavillo, Air Transportation Office (ATO) manager, arrived and attempted to mediate between the mayor and the guards but was unable to prevent Espiritu from physically assaulting the two guards.

According to Estavillo, he had already ordered other airport security officers to disarm the two guards arguing with Espiritu and has invited all parties concerned to a private dialogue to prevent further scandal at the airport when the Dumalneg mayor unexpectedly landed blows on the two guards.

As the disagreement was far from being settled, the two guards decided to report the incident to the police and had asked for medico-legal examinations for future references.

Meanwhile, Raganit, who is a member of a security agency hired by LIA to boost their security in the area, was immediately transferred by his agency to another assignment to prevent the incident from escalating further.

Estavillo for his part said Marquez will remain at his post at LIA as he was only doing his job as a security officer when he cited the Dumalneg mayor for parking in the wrong area.

Leilanie G. Adriano

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