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HomeOpinionCouncilor Zaldy can’t handle his success

Councilor Zaldy can’t handle his success

I was a program director at RMN dxCC when a then unknown Zaldy Ocon was hired.  Ocon was then with the group of Datu Puti or Raja as we call him at that time who sold herbal medicines and regaled the people he chanced at the station by giving money.
    
Whether it be P100, P200 or even P500, it all depends on what Raja can pull from his deep pocket with Ocon at his side. Aside from selling herbal meds to the public, Raja bought airtime at dxCC and   Zaldy Ocon served as anchor.
    
Zaldy had bodyguards who served as yes men or “amen, amen” pack to them which meant that whatever Zaldy talked about they would reply with a “yes” or “amen.”
    
Zaldy also had members of the Catholic Faith Defenders with him in his one-hour long program. I must admit it was a loud group and the public would love to hear them debate about the gospel.
    
Sometimes they invite other religious groups for a debate and I am sure the ratings were great for the station at that time.
    
Zaldy was Rajah’s buddy and Rajah later disappeared, fueling speculations that he died or was, believe or not, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) mole.  Thus was born Zaldy Ocon the broadcaster.
    
With Zaldy, money and a microphone can turn a nobody into a somebody provided one finds and secures an audience for oneself. My memories of him starting out at dxCC include the times he would stay at the radio station instead of going out with Raja his benefactor and talking with reporters and the administration people.
    
Zaldy made friends with the technical and programming staff. He was a volunteer at my “Walang Personal, Trabaho Lang” radio program from 5 am to 8 am Mondays to Saturdays and in my 4 pm to 6 pm program also on Mondays to Saturdays.
    
As a volunteer he didn’t receive any salary from RMN and was later given transportation allowance just like the others. Zaldy gave updates at the Cogon public market and the developments at the police precinct near the Cogon market.
    
His reports were brief and ended with a Biblical verse. He connected with a lot of listeners who were amused by his poor pronunciations of words or his rants against local officials and government employees whom he deemed abusive or didn’t serve public interest.
    
Zaldy parlayed his radio reporter post into a reputation as someone who championed the poor and oppressed while maintaining a sideline on sand and gravel. Again I was a program director and the late Bobby Mundo was a manager at dxCC at the time Zaldy was on air at the station.
    
At RMN TV Zaldy was managed by the late Lorenzo dela Serna and of course Atty. Reuben Canoy and when dela Serna or Canoy’s programs were simulcast over radio and TV, Zaldy would be on air in both.
    
Maybe at the time, Councilor Zaldy planted the seeds of his ambition.  He speaks very fast like he was running in a marathon and as always he would end his “discourse” with a Biblical verse, regaling a growing number of listeners.
    
Since dxCC needed more aggressive reporting due to competition, Zaldy was promoted to reporter and that was when he landed on the fast lane to local stardom.  His fast paced, nearly frenetic style of reporting and his Biblical verse quotes endeared him to more listeners and I was out of RMN at the time he hit his stride.
    
I left some radio personalities like “Babayeng Bagol” at the time and even then I heard of rumblings from within the station that Zaldy would overstep his bounds and act like the radio station manager.
    
He still maintained his street preaching with the Catholic Faith Defenders group at Divisoria and at Cogon Market thus ensuring that he kept his core mass base of supporters.  He appeared to be grounded in his profession of his Catholic faith but whether it is for show or not is unclear to me based on the incidents involving him lately.
    
One thing I am sure is that Zaldy has ambitions so big that he worked hard for it and when he did achieved some or even all his dreams, he didn’t know how to handle it. Again, a little recall; when he did establish his mark at RMN he associated himself with the late mayor Vicente “Dongkoy” Emano.
    
He was with Emano’s “violet group” when Emano was then Misamis Oriental governor and when he had a falling out with Emano for one reason or another, Zaldy kept a steady following of listeners.
    
I don’t know why he left Emano but when he did make a run for a City Council seat, he won and confounded Cagayan de Oro’s educated, influential clique who could not believe that a street preacher with a foul mouth can somehow serve in the City Council’s session hall.
    
Zaldy made it big but as I said he didn’t know how to handle his success.  His recent confrontation with former city mayor Reuben Canoy who is wheelchair bound was a test of his character at least in public.
    
And Ocon failed miserably in the eyes of those outside his loyal fan base and those who expect more from their elected public officials other than having a readymade pulpit on air from where he dishes his daily rants and pronounces judgment on others without holding himself accountable to the voting public he had sworn to serve.
    
Whether it be mouthing expletives at a former mayor revered by Kagay-anons old and young or slapping a traffic aide who meekly reminded him to park his vehicle someplace outside a no-parking area, Councilor Zaldy Ocon had crossed the line and to his detractors, that incident with Canoy is one time too many.
    
In the end, it is the public, the city residents who can make or break Ocon and others similar to him. Is Ocon a case of “I am bigger, better and stronger” than you? I am no psychologist so I can’t say if there is something wrong in his personality or it’s just plain arrogance on his part. 
    
But one thing I’m sure is that Kagawad Zaldy needs to take some Losartan or Rovustatin for medication to his hypertension and diabetes. Maybe I’ll talk more about this the next time Zaldy self-destructs either of his own volition or by provocation. (For comments and questions email me at susanap.dennus@yahoo)

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