“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
— Mark Twain
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — As long as Monico “Nyok” Puentevella and Evelio “Bing” Leonardia are active in Bacolod City politics, the City of Smile can never have a political peace of mind.
The two archenemies are Bacolod’s version of Cromwell vs Charles I, Stalin vs Trotsky, Pompey vs Caesar, and Pizarro vs Atahualpa.
They will stop at nothing until they have totally obliterated one another.
The bad blood between the two Ilonggo leaders has escalated in epic proportions.
Whoever sits as city mayor will always be at the receiving end of tidal waves of graft and corruption cases, including their proteges who happen to take over while they are either under suspension or have been sacked.
Whoever between the two is the representative in the city’s lone congressional district will surely wipe his face with graft and corruption charges–real or imagined.
Graft charges have been their most abused weaponry to rock the boat whoever between them is in the helm or the sitting mayor and congressman, respectively.
When Puentevella was the city mayor, then congressman Leonardia peppered Puentevella with graft cases in the Office of the Ombudsman, one of which was related to the anomalous purchase of P26-million worth of computer sets that resulted in Puentevella’s preventive suspension for 90 days in 2015.
Leonardia, who ousted Puentevella in their epic match in the May 2016 mayoral election, was himself recently ordered ousted by the Office of the Ombudsman for neligence in the procurement of P50-million worth of furniture and fixtures.
Leonardia’s camp pointed an accusing finger at, who else, Puentevella, to be behind the “harassment.” Puentevella, as usual, feigned innocence as Leonardia wont to do.
Their counter accusations have become akin to a pot calling the kettle black.
Their long-drawn-out quarrel, although political in nature, has demoralized their respective followers in particular, and the Bacolodnons in and outside the country in general.
As long as they continue to wield power and influence, even if they are temporarily out as elected mayor or congressman vice versa, their bitter rivalry will hamper the basic services and operations in the metropolis’ seat of political power, in one way or the other.
If Bacolodnons want to bring back stability, harmony, and even sanity in city hall, they should stop treating the selection process of their mayor and congressman as like that of a game of Trip to Jerusalem between two angry slow-mo dancers.
They should stop limiting the positions of city mayor and congressman only between two harpooned and recycled gladiators.
They should elect fresh faces, new leaders with a reinvigorated vision and mission; leaders that possess humility and emotional intelligence; and modern political philosophy sans any shade of petty intramural and infantile bickering.
Bacolod has to move on; move forward even without Puentevella and Leonardia.