Puentevella: I was provoked
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Bacolod City Councilor Claudio Jesus ‘Kalaw’ Puentevella yesterday issued a public apology after physically assaulting fellow City Councilor Dindo Ramos during last Wednesday’s regular Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) session.
“I know that what happened was inappropriate,” he said during a press conference. “I hope that we will not allow the incident to deviate us from the real reason why I stood my ground.”
Puentevella accused the Grupo Progreso majority of “railroading” several critical issues during the said session, pointing out, SP rules were violated as the entire body was not provided with the week’s agenda on its ascribed time, Tuesday morning, a day before the session.
He said they were only given 30 minute prior to the start of the session to review the agenda.
“I stood up to complement the position of City Councilor Ricardo Tan, reiterating the need for advance information,” Puentevella explained. “I believe that I was within my right.”
However, he said Ramos “flaunted” his position as a lawyer and certified public accountant (CPA) and insinuated those without such credentials are “lesser mortals,” claiming they are unable to enter into intellectual discussion when given short notice.
“I was provoked,” Puentevella stated. “I am not proud of what happened but, sometimes, someone just has to stand up.”
He went on to liken Ramos’ actions to bullying, saying, it had gone on long enough.
In response to GP councilors saying his actions could backfire, especially with the upcoming midterm elections, along with City Councilor Renecito Novero calling it “poison on their bowl,” referring to Puentevella’s local party, Magbinuligay Kita para sa Kauswagan (MKK), he said he is fully prepared to deal with the outcome.
The city councilor added, if suggested by MKK officials, he is prepared to drop out of the 2019 race.
According to initial reports surrounding the incident, which stemmed over a disagreement regarding the city’s waste management contractor, IPM-Construction and Development Corporation, Ramos said Puentevella was “abusive.”
City Councilor Caesar Distrito called the sanctions placed against Puentevella, wherein he was temporarily excluded from the rest of the 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./DGB, WDJ