By JIGGER JERUSALEM
THE return of embattled radio commentator and Councilor Zaldy Ocon to radio station DxCC should not deter a civil society group from pursuing its objective to have the public official be removed from office through a signature campaign, a journalist turned businessman said yesterday.
Ocon, who was reported to have taken a seven-day leave of absence as DxCC program director and anchorman last week, went back on air at the Radio Mindanao Network-owned DxCC Monday.
Businessman Jesus “Ritchie” Salloman, incidentally the president of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club, said the Remove Ocon Movement (ROM) should continue the signature campaign it launched on June 12, 2019 despite the councilor’s return to RMN-DxCC after being out on air for several days.
Ocon caught the public’s ire after he publicly berated veteran radio commentator Reuben Canoy over the councilor’s decision not to air the nonagenarian’s daily commentary “Perspective” due to a live coverage of a developing news story some two weeks ago. A video clip of the spat at the lobby of VIP Hotel went viral on Facebook.
“Perspective” is one of the longest running morning radio programs of DxCC.
A former Cagayan de Oro mayor, the 90-year-old is also the uncle of RMN president Eric Canoy.
The elder Canoy’s daughter Rhona earlier claimed Ocon was fired as a result of how the councilor treated her father. But days later, Ocon returned and did his commentary at DxCC, an act that belied the claim that he was fired.
Salloman said he is supporting the Remove Ocon Movement which earlier vowed to gather thousands of signatures from the city’s registered voting population.
The signatures, he said, must send a message that the people of Cagayan de Oro have had enough of Ocon’s behavior.
Based on the latest data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the city has 33,538 registered voters.
The group said the number of signatures is a minimum requirement for the recall petition under Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of the Philippines.
The petition, once approved by the Comelec, would pave the way for a recall petition.
A recall election is a process which voters can remove an elected public official from office through a direct vote before that official’s term expires.
Because of the behavior he displayed during the confrontation with Canoy, Salloman said the group must pursue the cause they’re fighting for and that they should “not settle for anything but Ocon’s removal from office.”
During the oath taking of the newly elected city officials officiated by Duterte last week, Ocon’s absence was noticed. Mayor Oscar Moreno told reporters Ocon did not show up at the event was apparently because the councilor was “taking a low profile.”
Salloman noted that Ocon was penalized with a six-month suspension order by the Office of the Ombudsman for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for slapping a traffic enforcer.
“I am therefore calling concerned Cagay-anons to join the Remove Ocon Movement in this campaign,” he said.
During the city legislature’s regular meeting on June 10, Ocon gave his side of the story and apologized to Canoy for what he has done.