Slain businessman not new to controversy

·2 min read

BEFORE he was murdered by a still unidentified gunman on Friday night, Jan. 1, 2021, businessman Ruben Feliciano was already known to Cebuanos for his controversial personality and his feud with San Fernando Mayor Lakambini “Neneth” Reluya.

When Feliciano arrived in Cebu from his native Zamboanga City, he worked with a private port developer to put up a multi-billion international port project in Barangay Sangat, San Fernando. He became president of the First Sangat SF International Port Corp.

In 2015, Feliciano sued his former business partners for allegedly preventing him from pursuing the project.

He also sued Reluya, who was then serving her first term as mayor, and her late husband, then the town’s Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president Ricardo “Nonoy” Reluya, before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

The mayor had issued an executive order suspending the project until Feliciano could resolve issues raised against him by his business partners and other sectors affected by the project.

During the 2019 midterm elections, Feliciano ran for mayor against Reluya on a platform against corruption and narcopolitics.

A Facebook account under his name posted a “kill list” that tied several politicians in San Fernando, including Reluya and her husband, to the illegal drug trade.

Also on the “kill list” were former ABC president Johnny Arriesgado and then municipal councilors Reneboy Dacalos, Edwin Villaver and Alfonso Donaire.

In January 2019, the mayor and her husband were ambushed by armed men in Barangay Linao, Talisay City.

The mayor and her two bodyguards survived, but her husband and two others did not.

In the same month, Dacalos and Arriesgado were gunned down by unidentified assailants. On Feb. 23 that same year, Donaire was killed inside his parents’ house in Zamboanga del Sur.

Feliciano denied any involvement in the murders, but he admitted threatening to kill them if they proceeded with their respective candidacies.

Just before the May 2019 elections, Feliciano was embroiled in another controversy when four of his supporters were accused of harassing then aspiring town councilor Joy Resogento in Barangay Bugho.

He also denied any involvement in the incident.

After losing the mayoral race, Feliciano disappeared from the limelight only to resurface as a victim of a drive-by shooting on Friday night. (WBS, JKV)