By JIGGER JERUSALEM
and LITO RULONA
HOLDING back tears, Councilor Zaldy Ocon publicly apologized to former mayor Reuben Canoy whom he berated during a confrontation inside a hotel last week.
Speaking before local legislators and a handful of spectators during the regular city council session Monday afternoon, Ocon addressed this message to Canoy: “Please forgive me, I’m very sorry, also to your family.”
The 90-year-old Canoy was not at the session hall of the city council when Ocon apologized.
Ocon said he lost his cool after Canoy gave him a dressing-down in front of people in the hotel, and after being told that he was fired as DxCC’s news director.
He said he and DxCC reporters went to VIP Hotel Friday morning to have breakfast after their coverage of a raid in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
Incidentally, Canoy was also in the hotel that time. According to Ocon, the former mayor called him and asked why his 10-minute editorial, “Perspective,” was not aired.
Ocon explained that his decision not to air “Perspective” that morning was because of DxCC’s special coverage of the raid and arrest of a town councilor.
Ocon said he wanted to “maintain the momentum of the coverage” as the reason for his decision to shelve that day’s episode of “Perspective.
He said he felt embarrassed because Canoy told him “You’re fired!” in front of many people in the hotel despite his explanation on his decision not to broadcast “Perspective” that morning.
Ocon said when he explained to Canoy that it was his judgment call and it was part of his job as news and program director, Canoy yelled at him “You’re fired!” for the second time. He said that was when he lost his cool.”
He said he blew his top and replied, “Go ahead!”
Ocon said it was the nonagenarian’s alleged flurry of insulting words that made him raise his voice and react the way he did.
A video clip circulating on social media showed Ocon facing the aging Canoy, who was in a wheel chair, as he talked back. The last words Ocon uttered before he left Canoy were “p***ng ina.”
Ocon told the city council that when he cussed, “It was because of my anger.”
During his 20-minute speech, Ocon hinted that he was affected by the public outrage and the criticisms he has been receiving on social media and in mainstream media.
“Nganong gihagit ko niya og gibinaboy? Og karon ana-a sa social media ang last part lang sa video nga ilang gibalik-balik. Wala nila gi-play ang tanan, ang tumoy lang. And where is justice? Gihukman ko sa 70 thousand ka tawo sa tibuok kalibutan apil ang mga kontra sa politika,” an emotional Ocon said.
Ocon said the incident would have been avoided had he and Canoy talked it over inside a room, and not in front of many people.
Meanwhile, Ocon said he was still waiting for radio station DxCC to send him a notice of termination or disciplinary action.
Canoy’s daughter Rhona earlier claimed that her cousin, Radio Mindanao Network president Eric Canoy, has already decided to fire Ocon.
The Canoy family-owned VIP Hotel has already labeled Ocon an unwanted person and ordered a ban on the councilor.