Bacolod Councilor Carlos Jose Lopez said he is the one who is being bullied in the City Council contrary to the claims of CouncilorClaudio Puentevella.
Lopez was reacting to a text message sent by Puentevella to the media after their confrontation during the session last week over a resolution he authored requiring the Kasadya Bacolod Foundation Inc. to submit a liquidation report.
Puentevella’s text message said, “I stood up in defense of the City Council who has long suffered from the bullying acts of Lopez.”
His actuation of shouting at his fellow councilors was uncalled for especially coming from a senior member, Puentevella also said.
He also said that, contrary to what he would like the public to believe, Lopez instigated the argument with his arrogant posturing. It is high time that someone stood up against a bully. He should learn to respect his fellow councilors.
Lopez said Puentevella’sstatement didnot come as a surprise to him. “In fact, I expected himtotwist the truthand maybe even fabricatelies. Truth is,this isthe thirdtimehechallenged me toa fist fight.The firsthappenedsometime lastyear after I delivered my privilege speech regarding the Professional Regulations Commission issue.”
The second was when he invited Regina Lopez of ABS CBNFoundation to speak before theCouncil about the projectsthey both have been working on – SumagRiver,Punta-Taytaymangroves andAlangilan Forest Park Watershed, Lopez said.
The third was lastWednesday at the Session Hall wherePuentevella stood up from his seat, walked towards him, approached him with a clenchedfist and in a fighting stance, shouted, "Diribalatasasagwa Let’s go outside)”. After beingpacified byothercouncilors,Puentevella again taunted him to engage him in a fist fight, he said.
“I, being then provoked,retortedand said, “Apatkamoakoisa (there are four of you, I’m alone)”, referring to his brothers who have been ganging up on me. This is evidenced by BrianPuentevella’spost on facebook (which has since been deleted but I have ascreen shotof),” he said.
Lopez said thePuentevellabrothershave the galland insensitivitytodrag his late brother into this and blame his death on him. Theseare baseless andare obviouslynothing more thanfabricated lies, he said.
He can surmise, he said, that Puentevella reacted that way as a result of many incidents in the past. One of which isthe resolution that hesponsored requestingKasadyaFoundation(headed by his brother, RockyPuentevella, and executive assistant of the Mayor)tobe invited to theCouncil to shed light on theflea market, orukayukayissue. This was not accepted or calendared bymajorityfloorleader Councilor ArchieBaribar, Lopez said.
Another reason is the Real Property Tax, which is normally headed by theCommittee onWays and Means, which he heads, according to the internal rules. But, somehow the rules were changed and it was assigned to the Committee on Finance headed byPuentevella, he said.
Atthe second public hearing on the RPT, Councilor Ana Marie Palermo limited the number of questions orsuggestions he could make.Worse, atthe last business forum, he was initially not allowed to speak. It was only afterhevigorously, insistedthat Baribar,allowed him to speak for two minutes, Lopez said.
At first, Puentevellawanted togive him a chance to speak only after the business forum had beenadjourned. This is a violation of parliamentary rules, free speech and freedom of expression which is enshrined in the constitution, he said.
Lopez said that most recently, the Mayor, through his executive assistant Reynaldo Ebreo, filed a frivolous case of malversation and anti-graft against him regarding the patrol boat with the Ombudsman.
“Who then is being bullied? Ihave been bullied by thePuentevellaallies in thiscouncil. Their actionshave bastardized this council and have set a bad example to our people and the youth – that when you don’t getyour way,youchallenge your foesto a fistfight instead of talking things through,” he said.
Lopez said further proof of the bullying he had endured happened last year when he was the chairman of the Transport Committee. Councilor WilsonGamboa Jr., vice chairman of Transport, called his own committee hearing without his approval and made his own report.
Furthermore, thePuentevellaallies are trying to skirt the issues surrounding the disbandment of Task ForceButagoyand the rampant illegal slaughtering in the city. “They are trying to find fault with me,instead of appreciating the good work against illegal slaughtering thatI performed in the call of my duty pursuant to the mandate I received as a CityCouncilor,” he said.
This was under the direct suggestion of DILG Regional Director Anthony Nuyda and PNP Deputy Chief Gen. Felipe Rojas and Chief of Intelligence Dir. Mendez, Lopez said.
“In this administration, I could only hope that ourCity Officials exercise, at all times, the proper ethics, social graces and right conduct befitting the word "honorable" that is affixed to our names,” Lopez added.*CGS
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