By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Bacolod City councilors belonging to local political coalition Grupo Progreso (GP), which is led by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, held a press conference yesterday regarding the recent punching incident between City Councilors Claudio Jesus ‘Kalaw’ Puentevella and Dindo Ramos, a GP member, saying it could backfire on the opposition councilor, especially with the upcoming midterm elections.
City Councilor Renecito Novero said the incident “poison on their bowl,” referring to Puentevella’s local party, Magbinuligay Kita para sa Kauswagan (MKK).
City Councilor Caesar Distrito called the sanctions placed against Puentevella, wherein he was temporarily excluded from the rest of the regular Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) session, a “flip of the finger.”
“The SP is a deliberative body and it is always a place of decorum, formality, and respect,” he said. “We might be a member of the majority or the minority but, at the end of the day, we are all elected officials.”
“That is why we are called honorable,” Distrito added.
He said Puentevella’s actions were unexpected and vowed to fully support whatever legal action Ramos plans to take against Puentevella.
Meanwhile, Leonardia said the incident, while sad, solidified their coalition. The mayor also believes it will help in bringing City Councilor Ana Marie Palermo to their side, noting she is a former MKK councilor.
In response to the incident, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran requested Bacolod City Police Office director, Police Senior Superintendent Francisco Ebreo, to permanently post police officers to the SP hall during regular sessions in order to avoid similar incident in the future.
Earlier this week, during the SP’s regular session, a fight broke out between Puentevella and Ramos, stemming over a disagreement regarding the city’s waste management contractor, IPM-Construction and Development Corporation.
Ramos called Puentevella “abusive” and said he plans to file assault charges, along with administrative charges for disrupting a public assembly.
Watchmen Daily Journal tried contacting Puentevella but he could not be reached for comment./DGB, WDJ