THE “has-been politician” who filed a libel case against me claimed that I have been insulting him for the last 25 years. Wow! That's a quarter of a century.

In his text message to Cebu Daily News reporter Ador Mayol following the inhibition of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 5 Presiding Judge Ricky Jones Macabaya from handling the case, he said: “I have been insulted by Mr. Nalzaro for 25 straight years and it would take me 25 years to forgive him.”

Maayo kay nakahinundum siya, no? So, that must have started in 1990 during his first term as a mayor? Is he sure that what he got from me were all insults and negative comments and no praise?

I don't know if this “has-been politician” has Alzheimer's disease. What he can only remember are my negative comments against him. He has forgotten the good things I said about him and when I defended him in some crucial and sensitive issues in the past.

When he was the mayor, I described him as a “good administrator.” I defended him when he quarreled with former Talisay City mayor and former first district congressman Eduardo Gullas about ownership of a portion of the multi-billion-peso South Road Properties (SRP). And I was the only media man that supported the vigilante-style killings that he virtually inspired. That stand earned me the ire of human rights advocates, lawyers, Church officials and even some of my colleagues in the media.

If I insulted him, those insults were not personal. Those were comments that, if taken positively, could have reformed him. In three different occasions when we personally met, I extended my hand to him for a handshake but he always ignored me. Is that attitude good for a public official?

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The private inspection team that looked into the collapse of the ceiling of Cinema 5 at Ayala Center Cebu said that the pipe connection of the sprinkler may have caused the collapse that injured nine moviegoers last June 15.

This finding runs counter to the earlier claim that the ducting of the air-conditioning unit caused the collapse. Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, chairman of the city disaster team, told reporters that based on his ocular inspection the collapse was caused by the heavy volume of water from the ducting system, which was part of a centralized air-conditioning unit. Was there negligence in maintenance on the part of the mall?

Julius Padilla, project director of F. R. Sevilla Industrial and Development Corp., the contractor of the air conditioning system at the new wing of Ayala Center Cebu, including that of Cinema 5, also clarified earlier published reports that the air conditioning ducting was the cause of the incident. In his letter to me, Padilla refuted initial reports based on an ocular inspection that the collapse was caused by the heavy volume of water from the ducting system, which was part of the centralized air conditioning unit.

The main source of the water was not the ducts installed by the company since these only distribute air to areas that need cooling, he said. Only the pipes transport water to and from the chillers and air handling units, thus there is no possibility that water came from their air-conditioning system.

In short, the main source of the water that caused the collapse of the ceiling was not the mall's air conditioning system. He added that the company has a good track record in installation of air conditioning systems. It is the contractor for almost all Ayala buildings and other big building constructions.

Now, who should be faulted for the collapse of the ceiling? I hope that the incident will serve as a wake-up call for building owners to always conduct preventive maintenance in their facilities for the safety of the occupants and clientele.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)