The incident that involved the killing of a hotel owner in Bacolod City was an isolated case and had nothing to do with the MassKara Festival itself, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said yesterday.
Leonardia said “I know some politicians are making it an issue and trying to connect it to the MassKara Festival. There is no logic to that at all and that is very malicious and political.”
He said Johnny Chua, who owns the Eastview Hotel at Carlos Hilado Street- Circumferential Road, was his friend and a classmate in college at La Salle and he sympathizes with the family.
Chua, 63, was on board his black Isuzu Alterra vehicle, driven by his son, Brent Andrew, 24, on their way home from the Bacolod downtown area, when Raymund Longno, 37, of Brgy. Villamonte shot him at the junction of JV-Burgos streets Saturday.
Leonardia said the incident did not happen at the festival site and it had no connection at all with the celebration. He hopes the political vultures will not again cash in on this, he said.
ALSO IN DUMAGUETE
He also cited the case of Dumaguete City where a businessman was also shot dead at the downtown area just as their famous Buglasan Festival had ended, but nobody was vicious enough to suggest that the killing was festival-related.
As for the Chua incident, Leonardia said, “I am very interested in the solution of this case and I believe that Bacolod police director Senior Supt. Ricardo de la Paz is aware of this being the most outstanding police chief in Western Visayas.”
He also pointed out that, aside from De la Paz being an outstanding police chief, the awards for the Best Police Station, Best Women and Children Concerned Desk, and Most Supportive Local Government Unit, were all garnered by Bacolod City during recent awarding rites.
Leonardia said that should speak also well of the peace and order situation in Bacolod City.
Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson said the death of Longno should also be investigated since he could be a link to other incidents.
LIKE NO OTHER
Meanwhile, Leonardia said the recent MassKara Festival was a celebration like no other. “True to what the organizers promised me, it was the grandest ever,” he said.
The flights that went in and out of the airport was a record of sorts and the hotels were brimming with guests, Leonardia said.
“The crowd that showed up, I believe, was unprecedented,” he said.
Leonardia said he is happy that the MassKara Festival has been re-engineered and many innovations were invested into it.
Among what he considers personally as his contribution to the MassKara is the institution of the tourism strip with the closure of Lacson Street that provided the venue for the Electric MassKara that has become a very major attraction, he said.
Leonardia recalled that when he first proposed it, there was some resistance. Now that it has proven to be a resounding success, it has become an unstoppable event that, for sure, will continue every year because the people had accepted it in overwhelming fashion, he said.
GENIUS AND TALENTS
The Mayor also thanked the Silver MassKara Festival Organization and all sectors involved from the barangays, tanod, street cleaners, garbage collectors, police and military and all the sponsors.
Leonardia said “It was a community effort so give credit to the people for their support and cooperation. I salute the genius and talents of our people for coming up with something like that.”
He believes that the future administrations and mayors will see to it that the MassKara Festival will be nurtured continually, he said.
Leonardia said Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson has assured that he will be one of those who will always endorse the MassKara. Any mayor who will destroy the MassKara Festival will be committing political suicide, Leonardia said.*CGS