Ban Ben? City council thinks it might

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BACOLOD CITY – The Bacolod City council is considering the declaration of broadcaster Ben Tulfo as persona non grata after his interview with Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia Friday night over an alleged Masskara-related basketball game.

Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran said the conduct of the broadcaster was unethical and disrespectful to the city mayor and the people of Bacolod.

“There is a public outcry [to declare the broadcaster persona non grata]. It has caused a big damage to our city mayor and to Councilor Al Espino,” Familiaran said.

Councilor Al Victor Espino, meanwhile, clarified that the city government of Bacolod had nothing to do with the complained event because it was never part of the Masskara festival.

“It was never part of Masskara. Mayor Bing and the city of Bacolod have nothing to do with it. In fact, it was never docketed as an official event of the festival,” he said.

Espino, however, does not deny that he was part of the event but said that his only participation was to help the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) raise funds, as he is the chairman of the peace and order council.

The said event was a fundraising activity for the BCPO.

“As a matter of fact, I paid for the venue from my personal funds,” he said.

Espino said there is a proper forum to discuss the issue and it was not supposed to be taken through the media.

“The proper venue, I’m sorry to say, with all due respect is not through the media or Facebook or any other social media outlet. I believe justice has to be served in this case,” said Espino.

Bacolod city mayor was insisted by Tulfo to do more than just relaying the issue to the councilor.

Leonardia said he was innocent about the issue and he doesn’t know the details of the event.

“Officially, it was not an event of the city. Personally, I have no idea about the details of the event. I was practically innocent about this, that is why I refer this to councilor Espino because he was the one involved here,” the mayor said.

The mayor added he will leave it to the city council whatever action they will take regarding the issue.

Leonardia thanked the people who sympathized with him, as he expresses hopes that the truth will come out.

“If there is anything good that has happened here, that is the reassurance that the people are on my side,” Leonardia said.

Espino said he will set a separate press conference this week to further clarify the issue.

“As for the specifics, I will reserve it for a later date. Hopefully by this week, we will answer all questions,” the councilor added.

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