BASKETBALL GAME BROUHAHA: Mayor turns down Tulfo invitation

Mayor Evelio Leonardia

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia turned down the invitation of broadcaster Ben Tulfo for a personal interview in his radio program BTAG Live on PTV 4 scheduled Wednesday.

Atty. Marvin Tañada, counsel for Leonardia, said in a letter addressed to Tulfo “that given the experience of the mayor in Tulfo’s recent interview in his program, they do not believe it is such a wise idea to have another one”

Tulfo earlier called out Leonardia after a complainant accused Bacolod City councilor Al Victor Espino of allegedly not paying a basketball team that played against the Bacolod City Police Office here last October 2019.

“After that December 6 interview, we have the impression that you have your own rules of journalism, rules that even our own fellow journalists are embarrassed about. In an unprecedented move, the local chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, which usually stays neutral in cases involving public officials, have even come out to condemn your actions,” Tañada said.

He added that “the basketball event for which you now serve as a collector, was not an official activity of the MassKara Festival, much less one of its highlights.”

Tañada said the game was “clearly a private transaction between Councilor Al Victor Espino and Gene Padilla, et al.”

He also asked Tulfo to stop using Leonardia to boost the story’s news value.

“He has nothing to do with such private transaction and neither has the Bacolod City government,” Tañada said.

It would be more appropriate if Tulfo addresses his invitation to persons who are parties to that transaction, he added.

“Leonardia, therefore, declines your invitation especially on the light of that deplorable treatment accorded to him last Dec. 26 to which he reserves his right to protect his honor and reputation.”

in his letter-invitation to Leonardia dated Dec 10, Tulfo said Padilla came to their action center with a complaint regarding the unpaid talent fee for a basketball event for a cause sponsored by Councilor Al Victor Espino and the USLS Coliseum on October 26.

He also told the mayor that he is willing to shoulder transportation and accommodation expenses.

Earlier, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran said that they are considering to declare Tulfo ” persona non grata” in the city of Bacolod for the” deplorable treatment of Leonardia in his program.