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The raging bull

A 1980 mega blockbuster film entitled “The Raging Bull” that starred Robert De Niro, tells about the life story of Jake La Motta, a middleweight boxer whose self-destructive and obsessive rage destroyed his relationship with his wife and family.

The allusion to this is a letter that is spreading on social media which raises the question whether elected Gov. Bong Lacson still holds the reign at the provincial government as it appears he “has delegated our sacred will to the de facto governor.”

If you read the entire letter, it seems that the author is an insider as he/she is privy to a lot of things happening from within the province and the seeming discontent of many against Provincial Administrator, Atty. Ray Diaz.

It was signed by a certain Antonio Ligam but a search of that person reveals nothing. Normally I would ignore documents that came from unknown sources. However, if the provincial government can actually file show-cause orders against its employees based on an anonymous letter, then they are probably thick-skinned enough to look into this letter.

The document pointed out the incident between Diaz and former Bacolod Councilor Carl Lopez in 2015 when the latter filed a blotter report against Diaz, then the City Legal Officer, for allegedly challenging him to a fistfight, thus the reference to him as “the raging bull.”

Fast forward to the present times, the author cited Diaz’s statements that whatever he does is with “authority” from the Governor, Vice-Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer and Provincial Consultant and former Rep. Albee Benitez. In short, are these three officials complicit with what’s been happening at the province?

Some of the allegations used in the letter are quite libelous but suffice it to say, the letter bears asking the governor if indeed, all of Diaz’s actions are with his seal of approval, including the alleged budgetary changes in the approved budget of the Provincial Planning and Development Office for 2020.

The controversy at the provincial government stems from the perceived witch hunt that led to the suspension of department heads and employees, especially those from the legal department that was backed up simply by an anonymous letter they were never informed about.
Actions supposed to emanate from the Provincial Legal Office in ordering these employees to answer allegations were transferred to Diaz, thus the perception that he should be feared and why many allegedly say “Sobra pa siya sa Gobernador.”

In my previous column, alarmed at the number of people getting suspended at the Capitol, I personally asked Vice Gov. Jeff if he had anything to do with this as Diaz claimed whatever “reforms” he is doing has the concurrence of the VG, the council and Albee. Jeff said they agreed on reforms but suspending employees is the prerogative of the executive and he has nothing to do with it.

Ah…If I can only voice out what some board members have told me as well. But it was said in confidentiality thus I am mum about it. However, what has been happening bears asking as well whether the governor is in touch with the realities at the Capitol or at least, has he been talking to employees outside of his office to find out their sentiments?

One incident the letter mentioned was the about the accommodations of repatriates at one of the inns here that was commissioned by the province. Those in charged were allegedly ordered by the governor to immediately release repatriates that tested negative so the rooms will be made available to incoming Negrenses.

That was common sense of course. However, as the letter claimed, this was allegedly countered by Diaz as the agreement with the inn was a minimum stay of seven days. Whether the owner is a friend or not as alleged, is immaterial or is it very material? But the bigger question is how true that the governor even allegedly apologized to Diaz about it?

In just a year in office, Diaz has become the target of many controversies. There are two sides to the coin of course and that begs some answers on whether his actions are really for the good of the province or not.

One cannot help but compare this to the time of the late Provincial Administrator Henry Pinongan who acted like a father to everyone and helped resolve issues within, in a quiet manner. Mr. Pinongan was one guy who would even smile amidst controversies and would only issue statements that he ran by the governor.

Now though, when things are really starting to get out of hand, with employees filing cases left and right, mostly for abuse of authority, then something is really, really wrong. And if the governor continues to allow this without intervening, then it sends a strong signal to the employees that perhaps, there must be another governor they have to contend with.

The letter ended reminding Lacson lest he has forgotten that he was the one who was given the mandate to rule at the Capitol. Act like one.*

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May 2022

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