By Mortz C. Ortigoza
“Huwag na daw nating pag –usapan iyon (We will not discuss it),” my radio tandem Harold Barcelona, who was already on air for two minutes with the traffic chief, blurted out when I entered the radio booth of DZRD 981 Sonshine Radio.
“Huwag na nating pag usapan” means we would not discuss on air the photos of Carlito Ocampo, Dagupan City’s traffic chief, who went viral at social media Face Book after he was pictured releasing his fighting cock in a cockpit arena in the City.
“Why would we not discuss it? It’s the big talk of the town and that’s what people want to know why the Public Order & Safety Office (POSO) chief was inside the arena’s glass wall covered platform preparing to release his cock, er, rooster to duke out with its opponent by slashing each other with their “Blade of Gory”. Besides, there was nothing illegal there since Ocampo was inside the cockpit in that weekend,” I countered.
Before the second half of the program and with some seven minutes commercial break, Ocampo, a retired policeman, acquiesced to my prodding to go public and explained that the picture taken by an elected barangay official a certain Village Kagawad Decano,who was identified with the mayor’s rival, took the photos on November 19 a Saturday.
“How about the two POSO enforcers who were seen escorting Ocampo inside?” Harold posed.
“If they were there inside to inform Ocampo of a pressing problem and they did not bet, there was no irregularity there,” I retorted.
Ocampo, who was probably enlightened about my argumentation, warmed and heated up and prepared himself for a tit-for-tat of with his critics who relished demonizing him at radio and social media when he was seen inside the “bulangngan”.
He said it was not true that it was taken last December 7, a Wednesday.
“You go to the OSSBC (One-Stop-Shop Business Center), you can see there that the Tapuac Cockpit Arena opens only every weekend".
He said he was a cock fighting aficionado since he was a policeman.
The small amount he bet, he explained, came from the hard earning he got from his security agency.
“Mga ilan ang security guards niyo all over Region-1?” Harold posed.
“Mga 400,” Ocampo answered
“So kumikita pala si Kuya Lito (Ocampo) ng more or less P800,000 a month,” I mentally calculated at P2000 per guard and quipped.
“Kinsenas lang iyon,” Harold, who was poor in math, butted in.
“Hinde naman!” Ocampo coyly denied.
Ocampo said he was willing to be investigated by anybody where they could include his cockpit days when he was a policeman.
“Why make a big fuss on this, you go to the cockpit every weekend and you can see elected officials bet there for their favorite cocks,” he emphatically argued.
“Pati iyong nag picture elected government official, kasama ko ring nagsasabung,” he added.
“In pari delicto (in equal fault) pala kayong dalawa,” I blurted out with amusement.
“Saan nabibili iyang “In pare delicto”, kasamang Mortz?” Harold asked me again.
“Sa Quiapo” I told him to the amusement of Ocampo.
Ocampo told his detractors that in case he would be sacked from his post at POSO “hinde ko iiyakan iyan, magpapa-inum pa ako!”
He said he accepted the thankless job at the traffic office because it was “pay – back time” to the mayor who played a significant part of his burgeoning business.
Are government officials like Ocampo allowed to gamble during weekends?