Gubernatorial bet and former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. called out Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio for offering the use of the “Kita ug ang Gobernador” weekly media briefing, which is covered live by local radio stations and paid for by the provincial government, for “political” purposes.
Evasco called Damalerio “stupid” in response to the latter’s invitation for him to join the media briefing at the Governor’s Mansion in Tagbilaran City to introduce himself for “one hour.” Damalerio extended the invitation after Evasco begged off from joining the only gubernatorial candidates’ forum in Bohol due to the “limited” time allocated for introduction during the event.
“Og mo-apil ko ana, mahimo kong bulok sama sa ka bulok ni Damalerio,” said Evasco on Thursday following a meeting with municipal political leaders held in Tagbilaran City.
According to Evasco, the Kita ug ang Gobernador program which is aired live over stations dyRD and dyTR is paid for by the provincial government not for politicking but for disseminating information to the public.
“Nagpakita lang ni si Ae Damalerio sa iyang taas na panagboot-boot sa unsay buhaton niya dinhi sa Bohol,” said Evasco.
The latest verbal tussle between Evasco and Damalerio erupted after Evasco skipped the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (BCCI) gubernatorial candidates’ forum on April 23.
Evasco had varying reasons for his absence while Damalerio called him a “coward” for not joining the event.
Damalerio earlier said that the forum would have been an avenue for all the candidates to convey their platforms and programs for Bohol and their stand on various issues.
Among five gubernatorial bets, only Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap and actor Amay Bisaya attended the BCCI forum.
TIMELINE OF EVASCO’S STATEMENTS ON THE CANDIDATES’ FORUM:
- In a letter dated April 10 and sent to BCCI president Albert Uy, Evasco begged off from joining the event, citing “reservations” over the forum’s mechanics. No requests were made by Evasco through the letter.
- After saying he would not join the event, he later asked on April 16 for the event’s introduction time for candidates to be changed from three minutes to 30 minutes.
- The BCCI said that the event’s mechanics have been in place since 2010 and were used in its 2013 and 2016 editions. Congressional candidates for this year’s forum also followed the same format.
- On April 26, three days after the forum, Evasco issued another statement alleging that the BCCI set up a “trap” for him, hence, his absence from the forum. He also said that he was not on the same level as those who attended the event, Yap and Bisaya.
Prior to Evasco’s allegations of partiality during the forum, it was already noted that the same questions were given to all the candidates who joined the series of fora. They were also allotted exactly the same time to answer each of the questions at three minutes.
The BCCI’s gubernatorial and congressional fora—which, as organizers have repeatedly explained, are not debates—have been applying the same mechanics since 2010. Evasco was the first to have “reservations” over the rules of the event.
“Mao nana atong mechanics sukad pa sauna. Sa akong gisulti ganina sa akong welcome remarks nga ika upat na ni na naghimo kita aning candidates’ forum sa upat na ka election ug wa man yamoy issues ani bahin aning introduction,” said Albert Uy, president of the BCCI, during the congressional edition of the forum on April 16.
The event was attended by Third District congressional bets Vice Governor Dionisio Balite, retired judge Carlos Fernando and Board Member Alexie Tutor. Former Carmen mayor Cheche Toribio-Delos Reyes skipped the forum due to a prior commitment that required her presence in Manila.
The fora for First District and Second District Congressional bets which was supposedly to be held in one event was cancelled as only First District candidate Governor Edgar Chatto and Second District candidate Board Member Agapito Avenido, who both belong to Pundok Padayon Bol-anon, agreed to join the activity.
Organizers decided to cancel the forum as there was no representation from Pundok Tinuod Bol-anon as partymates Rep. Aris Aumentado and former Tagbilaran City Mayor Dan Lim who are running for Second District and First District representatives, respectively, were not available during the set date for the event.
According to Uy, the BCCI is impartial and is not favoring any candidate.
The series of fora was organized for the public to be guided on who to vote for during the midterm elections, he added. (A. Doydora)