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Bacolod vice mayor bets face off

Former Bacolod councilor Caesar Distrito, Councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr. and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran (l-r) during the Debate Serye 2022 of station DYHB Radio Mindanao Network for vice mayoralty candidates at the Osbron Hall of Ikthus Bacolod yesterday*

Re-electionist Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran showed his fighting stance yesterday and turned the tables on former councilor Caesar Distrito during the second edition of the Debate Serye 2022 of station DYHB Radio Mindanao Network for vice mayoralty candidates, held at the Osbron Hall of Ikthus Bacolod.

“Isn’t it that you had the most number of Job Order (J.O.) casuals at more than 50 persons during your time?” Familiaran asked Distrito when the latter questioned the manner of allocating budget.

The former councilor, one of the two rivals of Familiaran, implied several times that the city has enough resources but these are being wasted on hiring J.O. personnel.

“The temerity to raise that issue when you were very much a part of it. You were in the majority that approved the budget. Nalipat ka nga ikaw may pinaka damo J.O.?” Familiaran continued.

Familiaran’s crisp and straightforward replies to Distrito’s innuendoes elicited wild cheers from the crowd, leaving Distrito tight-lipped on allegations that he had themost number of casuals at City Hall.

Distrito offered no rebuttal to Familiaran’s charge. He did not react to the vice mayor’s statement.

Being confrontational is usually not the style of Familiaran, who is more popular of being mild-mannered, soft spoken and a peace maker and had not been involved in heated arguments or verbal tussles in his political career.

However, the Debate Serye 2022 gave Familiaran an opening to defend his positions on issues hurled against him by Distrito.

Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. was the third vice mayoralty bet featured in the Debate Serye.

During the segment that allowed candidates to ask their rivals, Distrito questioned whether the permanent appointment of Familiaran’s wife, Portia, as administrative officer, involved conflict of interest or it may be viewed as “utang na loob” to the appointing authority.

Familiaran explained that his wife became an administrative officer II in 1998 during the mayorship of Oscar Verdeflor, not during the incumbency of Mayor Evelio Leonardia, and long before he became an elected city official.

She was promoted 24 years later as administrative officer III following a vacancy because she was the next in rank by seniority, he further explained.

In other words, Familiaran said, she is qualified and her appointment went through the usual processes that involved the Human Resource Department and the Civil Service Commission.

His son, Andre, also has commensurate qualifications to be where he is currently, after years of being one of the top salesmen of San Miguel Corp.

“I worked my way up in my career. I owe no one a favor,” said Familiaran, who was a barangay captain for over two decades before seeking a seat in the City Council.

CENECO VS DISTRITO

Distrito also fell short for words when asked by Familiaran for his legal opinion, being a lawyer, if a barangay official is involved in power pilferage or illegal power usage.

Distrito apparently scrambled for words and fell short in his reply, prompting laughter from the crowd.

The Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) filed a complaint before the Ombudsman in the Visayas Tuesday, against Distrito’s brother, Barangay Singcang-Airport chief Rosinie and two other village officials for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Legal counsel Marcus Vaflor, who filed the case on behalf of CENECO, disclosed that the charges against Distrito and the barangay secretary and treasurer came from a February 11, 2022 incident, when CENECO personnel discovered that several wires were illegally connected to the Barangay Hall.

Distrito defended the allegations and said the connections were for the sound systems installed outside the Barangay Hall and shrugged the complaint as “merely political.”

The electric cooperative also filed a separate case against Distrito and the officials for violating Republic Act 7832, or the Anti-Pilferage of Electricity and Theft of Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Act of 1994.*

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