By Eldie Aguirre
Mindanao Bureau
Last updated 00:35am (Mla time) 06/27/2007

DIGOS CITY, Philippines — Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent Orlando Dinoy on Tuesday said he fears for his safety after Bansalan, Davao del Sur Mayor Peter Melchor Arches allegedly harassed him on Monday.


Dinoy, 28, a resident of Bansalan, said he was covering the indignation rally against terrorism held in the town when Arches approached him and confronted him on reports coming out in the media about the supposed cheating and vote-buying in the town during the May 14 elections.


The correspondent said Arches accused him of feeding the information to other journalists.


“Why are you accusing me of such when I was not even involved in the campaign?” Dinoy said in his defense.


But Arches, he said, was fuming mad and raised his hand as if to box him.


He said he ran away but Arches chased him until they caught the attention of people, including a television news crew of the local ABS-CBN station.


Dinoy said Arches only stopped chasing him when he noticed the TV camera.


“But he [Arches] told me not to show up during his oath-taking or he will beat me up,” Dinoy said.


Senior Inspector Sherwin Butil, Bansalan police chief, said he saw Arches and Dinoy during the rally and that the two were “like playing.”


“I only came to know about the alleged harassment when I got to the police station,” he said.


Butil said he will invite Arches later “because they are still busy preparing for their oath-taking.”


Arches, who is winding up his third term, was elected vice mayor during the elections.


The Inquirer, parent company of, tried but failed to contact Arches.


Bansalan Vice Mayor Edwin Reyes said the mayor does not carry a mobile phone or have any contact number.


“I don’t know where he is at the moment,” he said.


Dinoy, who started working for the Inquirer on May 14, said he would press charges against Arches.


He said the filing of charges might deter Arches from further harassing him.


As a correspondent for the Inquirer, Dinoy said he could not avoid covering the municipal hall, where Arches holds office.


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