Cebu town mayor who survived ambush secures reelection

Ryan Macasero

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Cebu town mayor who survived ambush secures reelection
Lakambini Reluya and her son beat opponents in San Fernando, Cebu

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Lakambini “Neneth” Reluya, the mayor of San Fernando, Cebu who survived an ambush that killed her husband, won her reelection bid on Tuesday, May 14.

Reluya garnered 22,294 votes versus opponent Ruben Feliciano, who got 15,567 votes. All votes were transmitted and canvassed by San Fernando’s Board of Canvassers.

Reluya was injured, while 3 of her companions, including her husband Ricardo “Nonoy” Reluya, died when unidentified gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in Barangay Linao, Talisay City in January. (READ: San Fernando, Cebu mayor ambushed in Talisay)

Police said shortly after the incident that politics could be the motive behind the killing. (READ: Politics eyed as motive behind Mayor Reluya ambush)

Reluya’s son, Ricardo “Ricci” Reluya Jr., also won as vice mayor on Tuesday with 19,094 votes, beating his opponent, who got 18,132 votes.

The younger Reluya substituted for his father, who filed his certificate of candidacy before he was killed. Commission on Elections rules stipulate that only a person with the same last name may be fielded as a substitute.

Apart from Nonoy Reluya, who was a San Fernando councilor, 3 other officials of the town were killed last January, while 2 others went missing.

Franz Sabalones, the brother of former San Fernando Vice Mayor Fralz Sabalones, was killed in Quezon City in April. (READ: Self-confessed Cebu drug lord shot dead in Quezon City)

Newsbreak looked into the killing of the town’s officials, personalities linked to drugs, and Neneth Reluya’s rivalry with opponent Feliciano in a two-part investigative series.

READ: ‘I will kill you all’

READ: ‘One Wrong Move And Ur Over!’


Follow Rappler’s full coverage of the 2019 Philippine elections here.

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Nobuhiko Matsunaka


Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at