Joval did not show up to make his day.
Pulupandan Mayor Magdaleno “Magsie” Peña arrived at the Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City at 10:45 a.m. yesterday, looking for Jose Ma. “Joval” Valencia, chief of staff of Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., whom he had challenged to a boxing bout.
On his arrival on board a blue Dodge Challenger sports car, wearing what he called his Jean-Claude Van Damme outfit, Peña flexed his muscles for the media, and went directly to the social hall of the Capitol shouting, “Joval, make my day!”
He was accompanied by Pulupandan police chief, Senior Inspector Edcel Balibadlan, three policemen, and some members of his staff.
However, Valencia did not show up, saying he did not want to stoop to Peña's level.
Peña, in response to the non-appearance of Valencia, said “pokpokpokpokak, pokpokpokpokak, chicken, chicken, chicken,” and left the Capitol at 11:20 a.m., disappointed that Valencia did not make his day.
Peña, a relative of Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez Jr. who, he says, will win the governorship in May, said he wanted a boxing match with Valencia and a debate with Marañon over what he claims was the overpriced purchase of sheep from Australia by the Negros Occidental provincial government.
Marañon has denied that the sheep were overpriced.
Earlier, Valencia had said a debate between the governor and Peña is the "height of foolishness".
A debate should be between two candidates running for the same position so they can present their platforms of government and show who is the better choice, he said.
That is why Marañon has been challenging Alvarez to a debate, not Peña, Valencia added.
Peña said that, instead of buying useless sheep, the provincial government should have purchased carabaos for distribution in the province.
He said he was glad to hear that the governor distributed carabaos in Moises Padilla recently, instead of giving out sheep.
Peña yesterday also said he is filing graft and plunder charges against Marañon for the purchase of the sheep before the Ombudsman next week, and will also file a complaint before the Commission on Audit.
He said he spoke to COA Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, who knows about his overpriced sheep claim and he is sure she will take a keen interest and will want to investigate it, he added.
Guanzon, however, said, “I did not speak to him, or any other politician, while I was in Negros Occidental visiting my mother recently. We in the COA must remain impartial and independent, especially now that it is the campaign period.”
However, she said any taxpayer who has a complaint can write a letter addressed to COA chair Grace Pulido Tan, or the COA regional director.
Meanwhile, Peña said he is not eyeing the provincial administrator's post if Alvarez is elected governor.
He said he is not interested in the job, or the salary of Enrique Pinongan. “All I am asking from him is that he should cooperate in the investigations I will be conducting once Lim-ao wins because of numerous reports of overpricing,” he said.
Under an Alvarez administration, Peña said, he will be an aide at-large, who will be sent out to solve problems. “I will be a trouble fixer,” he said.
“When I join an election, it is always fun, may tapungulay, may tiruhay (there are fistfights, shooting)”, Peña said.
“When Alvarez wins the election, I guarantee you it will be fun in Negros,” he said.
Peña, who denied rumors that he has leukemia, said Alvarez will win the governorship by 70,000 to 100,000 votes.
BROTHER JOINS IN
Meanwhile, Bonifacio Peña, brother of the mayor, wrote a letter to Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena, saying the more than P100 million spent by the province for the purchase of alleged overpriced sheep was a waste of money.
He now has the 30 heads of sheep given to Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer (Neg. Occ., 4 th District) that, at the time of turnover to him, were “undernourished, weak, and withered,” he said.
This only proves that it was a mistake for Decena and the governor to import the sheep, being aware that Philippine environmental conditions do not suit them, nor is there a market for lamb meat, he claimed.
Bonifacio Peña said he understands that the province still has 3,000 heads of breeder sheep at the Negros First Ranch, and has dispersed sheep for free since nobody wants to buy them.
As a citizen, he said he has a right to question the wisdom of the provincial government's purchasing the sheep and how the province intends to pay back the P100 million loan it made with the LandBank of the Philippines for their purchase.
The governor's camp, on the other hand, has said there is no truth to the claims by Magdaleno Peña, which are allegedly politically motivated.
“His involvement in the gubernatorial campaign of Vice Gov. Lim-ao Alvarez, his close relative, is suspect and should likewise be an issue of public concern,” the governor's camp said in a paid advertisement.*CPG