(This is my Fair Play column for SunStar Cebu’s April 10 edition)
The Cebu boxing community was rocked with the unsettling news that a judge and a Games and Amusement Board (GAB) official got into a fight after a boxing event in Lapu-Lapu City last week. A day later, we got more details about the fight. A bloodied Jimmy Donton, the GAB officer-in-charge, was plastered all over social media with that of a picture of judge Edgar Olala languishing in a jail cell.
To be honest, I find Donton posing for a photo, blood dripping down his nose and all, quite amusing.
I purposely waited a week before writing about it since I wanted to know what those in the community have to say; no sane professional would do what Olala did. It’s not the first time I’ve written about Olala and Donton. Last year, I wrote about the complaint filed by Olala and Arnie Najera, another Cebu-based judge, against Donton for his refusal to renew their license.
In that complaint, Olala alleged that Donton challenged him to a fight in his office.
I was reminded of that challenge when I heard of the incident, which Olala’s camp said stemmed from Donton’s off-hand insult to the judge when he gave him his fee for the night.
That Olala deserves a suspension is a given, the question will be for how long. However, the incident also shows that Donton deserves to be reassigned outside Cebu. He may be a victim during that night, but based on the allegations of the two, he’s been acting like a bully.
Not unlike your favorite Mario Puzo character, whose penchant for dispensing favors resulted to an almost dog-like loyalty. I’ve written about Cebu boxing for decades and this I can say, the community is united. Or was united until Donton came along.
It would be useless for me to drag which camp started it, as what experience has taught me won’t heal the rift.
What is feasible for now is to make sure the incident doesn’t happen again and that will start with Olala’s suspension and Donton’s reassignment.
I’ve sung praises about GAB since Abraham Mitra took over since the official from Palawan has made all the right moves. This incident is a blot of what Mitra has done not only to improve GAB’s image but to improve GAB itself.
The incident, too, should teach Donton to be more circumspect in his actions. He’s a government official, not Michael Corleone, and challenging those he doesn’t disagree with to a fistfight is not only conduct unbecoming, but an attitude better left to schoolyard bullies.
Schoolyard bullies eventually learn and become better adults. Donton, as my late friend and fellow columnist Rico Navarro would love to say, could use this as a teachable moment — all our actions have consequences.
A lesson Olala is living right now.