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Treñas scores Gonzalezes for harassments

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

“ILOILO City is not a kingdom.”

Mayor Jerry Treñas issued these words of caution to his political rivals amidst reports that the Office of the Ombudsman will file charges against him relative to the anomalous P134-million housing project located in Pavia, Iloilo.

Treñas, who is running for Iloilo City congressman, said the housing project issue keeps on resurrecting during election time to put his name and administration down.

He said he was surprised why his political nemeses, Sec. Raul M. Gonzalez Sr. and Rep. Raul T. Gonzalez Jr., have been discussing the developments of the case which has been gathering dust in the Ombudsman central office.

“My conscience is clear and I have done what I thought should have been done in that case. And if charges will be filed against me, so be it. We don’t flee from such things anyway. But this only shows that other people are experts in what we call waslik poder (abuse of power). The people will analyze and decide on the basis of what they are doing,” the mayor said.

Treñas said the Gonzalezes are experts in “harassments, intimidation and pressure.”

The mayor also reacted to the so-called “Three Kings” in the Gonzalez camp who have been criticizing his administration.

“The city of Iloilo is not a kingdom owned by anyone. This is our city and all of us have a stake in our city, its growth and development through the years and that bickering and intrigues spawned by our enemies should not affect the city’s growth,” Treñas said.

The Gonzalezes said they have nothing to do with any action of the Ombudsman relative to the substandard housing project.

But Sec. Gonzalez Sr. told the Iloilo media Monday that we was responsible for telling the Ombudsman to hide the case so that Treñas will not face charges and get suspended early in his administration.

Sec. Gonzalez also said he was responsible for Treñas’ election as mayor and he only protected the latter.

Treñas said Sec. Gonzalez might be taking too much credit for the mayor’s political career.

“Damu na nga tomboy sa akun. Hasta ako mapatay siguro tumbuyon man niya ako gihapun. You all know the situation in Iloilo City. When I ran for reelection, my votes were higher than his son’s (Rep. Gonzalez Jr.). But they keep on harping that they helped me,” Treñas said.


Treñas also denied the claims of Rep. Gonzalez Jr. that he signed the housing project contract with Ace Builders Enterprises.

The mayor said he only implemented the contract which was signed and approved during the administration of former mayor Mansueto Malabor.

“There was already an initial payment to the contractor by the previous administration. During my watch, I only paid for services rendered. I did not sign the contract because it was already ratified by the previous administration.

Despite the word war, the mayor said he wishes the Gonzalezes well for the upcoming holidays.

“I want to greet them a very Merry Christmas this season and may the good Lord touch their hearts,” Treñas said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE alliance of candidates from varied political parties in Iloilo City is the antidote to the reign of the so-called triple G in local politics, according to former senator Franklin Drilon.

Drilon, LP national chairman, led the oath taking of Liberal Party members in Iloilo City led by Vice Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog Wednesday.

Mabilog, who will run for mayor, has allied with Mayor Jerry Treñas who will run for congressman under the Nacionalista Party.

Mabilog will run against Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul Gonzalez Sr. while Treñas will face incumbent Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr.

The Gonzalezes are members of the ruling Partido Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

Mabilog’s vice mayoral bet is Councilor Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda while Treñas is fielding his brother-in-law Jose Espinosa III for the second highest post in the City Hall.

“It’s triple J (Jerry-Jed-Jam) versus triple G (guns, gold and goons). The alliance of various parties in Iloilo City is an alliance against the politics of intimidation and oppression,” Drilon said.

Mabilog’s slate can be considered a salad of political parties.

Baronda has joined the Partido of Masang Pilipino (PMP) along with their City council bets Erlinda Liberiaga, former Bombo Radyo anchorman Rodel Fullon-Agado and lawyer Plaridel Nava. PMP is the political party of ousted president and convicted plunderer Joseph Estrada.

Another “councilorable” under the Mabilog-Baronda tandem is former councilor Joshua Alim who is with PDP-Laban party while Leftist Jory Porquia is with Bayan Muna.   

Mabilog also pledged to support Treñas’ candidacy in the May 2010 elections to continue the politics of change that the mayor initiated in 2001.

“Many local and international investors came into the city because of their trust in our leaders. I promise to continue these changes and development that Mayor Treñas started if ever I am elected mayor,” Mabilog said.

Aside from Mabilog, Councilor Lyndon Acap and lawyer RLeonie Geroche also formally joined LP yesterday.

The oath-taking rites also became a dance party of sorts as supporters and LP stalwarts danced to the tune of the pop dance song “Nobody But You.”

Crossing party lines, Drilon also endorsed the candidacy of Jerry P. Treñas, the NP city chairman, as their common candidate for congressman.    

Treñas appreciated the LP endorsement and said that Drilon is a well-respected leader in the city and in the country.

“It is the beauty of democracy where everyone can run in the elections and it is with distinct pride and honor to be endorsed by Senator Drilon,” Treñas said.

The city mayor said the LP endorsement will not affect his political standing with NP due to the fact that city electorates do not go for straight voting in any election.    

Drilon said straight party voting is not anymore effective in the city. This was confirmed by the results of the 2004 and 2007 elections where Ilonggos voted their leaders from different political parties, he said. (With reports from Lydia C. Pendon)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

ILOILO City Mayor Jerry Treñas will not cross swords with lone district Rep. Raul T. Gonzalez Jr. whom he will challenge in the 2010 congressional race in the city.

Treñas refused to react to Gonzalez’s statement questioning the mayor’s motivation to run for the city’s lone congressional seat.

Gonzalez said he was wondering why Treñas attributed his decision to God’s will after a period of deep discernment.

“I have not heard my friend who followed his own path include the name of God in his previous speeches. But now he is invoking God already when he announced his decision to run for congressman,” the congressman said.

Gonzalez also rapped Treñas for being impatient which fragmented their group’s unity. He said the mayor could have waited until he completes his last 3-year term as congressman for the sake of the city’s development.

Treñas said he does not want to directly confront or fire back at Gonzalez as it is not his habit to speak ill of people.

But the mayor showed an image of the Virgin Mary and a rosary tucked behind his table nameplate to prove his religious devotion.

“You don’t hear me speak anything against anybody. I don’t want to engage in such things,” Treñas said.

Treñas decision to run, which he also attributed to popular sentiment, cut his alliance with the Gonzalezes and Partido Lakas Kampi.

The mayor said he will resign from the administration party as he cannot expect to be chosen as its standard bearer under the principle of equity of the incumbent.

Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio said they hope to prevent Treñas from leaving the party despite declaring his intention to run against Gonzalez.

Claudio said in an interview with Bombo Radyo that Treñas and Gonzalez are valuable members of the party.

“As much as possible, we want both of them to stay with Partido Lakas Kampi because they are important personalities in the group. As long as Mayor Treñas has not tendered his resignation from the party, we believe we can make him stay,” Claudio said.

Claudio said PLK is set to decide who between Chief Presidential Legal Adviser Raul Gonzalez Sr. and Presidential Assistant on Waters Lorenzo “Larry” Jamora will be the party’s mayoral bet in the city.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

NOVEMBER will be a month of revelations as regards politics in Iloilo City.

Tomorrow, November 3, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas will announce his political plans for the 2010 elections in a 9am press conference at his law office on Iznart Street.

Treñas has several options regarding his political career:

–         quit politics;

–         remain with the group of Sec. Raul M. Gonzalez Sr. and slide to the vice mayoral post;

–         accept Iloilo City Vice Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog’s invitation to run for congressman;

–         join the group of mayoral candidate Lorenzo “Larry” Jamora.

Treñas said he agonized over his decision and reflected on what is good for him, his family and the city.

The so-called Jerry Treñas for Congressman Movement gathered more than 10,000 signatures of people who claim to support the mayor’s candidacy for the city’s lone congressional seat.

If Treñas runs for congressman, he will face incumbent Rep. Raul T. Gonzalez Jr.

After Treñas’ announcement, Mabilog will also announce their complete slate in a press conference around 11am of November 3.

Mabilog, who will run for mayor next year, described their slate as the “dream team” of Iloilo City as it is composed of representatives from various sectors in the city.

Sec. Gonzalez, who will also run for mayor, will also announce his running mate in two weeks.

Gonzalez, the chief presidential legal counsel, said he will seek the consensus of their party if who will be his running mate.

“Under the principle of equity of the incumbent, Jerry (Treñas) will get the slot of vice mayor. If he does not run for that post, we will look for a replacement via consensus,” Gonzalez said his TV and radio bloctime program “Counterstrike.”

Gonzalez said he had a 2-hour dinner with Treñas last Saturday “but he did not say anything about his decision.”

“Daw wala pa bala kaagahun (There’s no dawn yet). There are many speculations but we will just wait for the mayor’s announcement,” he added.

Gonzalez said he will tender his resignation from his cabinet post so he can file his certificate of candidacy before the November 30 deadline.

DECLARATION  Iloilo City Vice Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog announces his candidacy for city mayor in the 2010 elections at the UP Visayas auditorium in Iloilo City Monday. He is joined by his wife Ma. Victoria, daughter Patricia and son Jonathan Felix Miguel. (Photo by Tara Yap)

DECLARATION Iloilo City Vice Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog announces his candidacy for city mayor in the 2010 elections at the UP Visayas auditorium in Iloilo City Monday. He is joined by his wife Ma. Victoria, daughter Patricia and son Jonathan Felix Miguel. (Photo by Tara Yap)

Jed eyes Treñas as congressional bet

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

ILOILO City Vice Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog launched his ambition to occupy the City Mayor’s Office by rebuking what he called intimidations and threats of political behemoths in the city.

In a gathering at the University of the Philippines-Visayas auditorium Monday, Mabilog said he accepts the clamor of more than 60% of Iloilo City residents that he run for mayor in the May 2010 elections.

He said he is ready to challenge the “monolithic political group” here led by former Justice secretary, now chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul M. Gonzalez Sr.

“I humbly accept your call for new and fresh leadership by running for mayor of our great and noble city in 2010. Ini nga pag-pamat-ud indi para sa personal nga handum o pag-pang hangkat sang iban (This decision is not for personal ambitions or other people’s challenge). My decision is in response to the Ilonggos’ call for fresh leadership,” Mabilog said.

Mabilog, who is a member of the Lakas-CMD party, will run against his party mate Gonzalez Sr. who is also eyeing the mayoralty post.

But the vice mayor said he has no qualms in severing his party ties with the Gonzalezes.

“I have no qualms in leaving an organization if it means bowing down to the will of the people. After all, power emanates from the people, not from a chosen few or a single person. I also have no pretensions for power for it is a mere instrument to obey popular sentiment and promote common welfare,” Mabilog said.

Mabilog also urged his supporters to be brave despite threats and intimidations from his opponents.

“If you are afraid today, we will lose our future. Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with all the money and influence, but for every Ilonggo who’s willing to toil for their dreams,” he said.


Mabilog also outlined his programs of government in his 6-page speech which lasted for more than an hour.

“Some of our specific task is free education for elementary and high school students. We will also strive to provide decent shelter and housing to those who live in shanties, under multimillion bridges and, worst, in critical areas such as flood-prone riverbanks,” Mabilog said.

Mabilog also vowed to focus on environmental concerns by “promoting technologies and lifestyle that care for our natural resources and ecology.”

As regards the power crisis, Mabilog said his administration will triple its efforts to look for renewable and sustainable sources. He will seek the help of the national government in solving the water shortage in Iloilo City.

The vice mayor said he will also work for the professionalization of the City Hall workforce, reduce bureaucratic red tape and eliminate informal fees.


Mabilog said he has yet to complete his slate for the 2010 elections but the presence of several personalities in the gathering was a telltale sign of his running mate and candidates to the City Council.

Among those present were Councilors Julienne Baronda, Lex Tupas and Lyndon Acap; former councilors Erlinda Liberiaga, Marietta Orleans and Joshua Alim.

Lawyers Plaridel Nava and R. Leony Gerochi were also seen at the gathering.

Former Iloilo City police director Norlito Bautista delivered a message before Mabilog’s speech.

Mabilog said Baronda and Tupas are capable of becoming his running mate but he made no categorical statement.

Mabilog said he is also eyeing Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas to become their bet in the race for the lone congressional district of city, opposite Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

A GROUP is gathering signatures for a petition that seeks to prod Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas to run for congressman in the 2010 elections.

The signature campaign started September 4, according to a member of the group who sought anonymity for the meantime.

According to the source, they circulated 12 signature folders to each of the 180 barangays in the city. Each folder contains a piece of paper with the heading “Uswag Iloilo! Jerry P. Treñas Congressman Movement.”

The main petition body has the heading “A Petition Urging Mayor Jerry P. Treñas to run for Congressman. The Next Big Thing.”

Each piece of paper can accommodate 60 signatories, which mean each folder can contain a maximum of 180 signatories.

The group expects to gather 5,000 to 10,000 signatures. So far, they have gathered 2,000 signatures even as they eye to reach their target signatures by first week of October.

The source said they circulated the petition forms to common residents, not the barangay officials who are identified with the group of Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul Gonzalez Sr.

Gonzalez’s son and namesake, Raul Jr., still has one three-year term left which he intends to pursue in next year’s elections.

Treñas will graduate as city mayor next year, fueling speculations that he might turn against his political allies.

The Gonzalezes and Treñas belong to the Lakas party.

According to the source, one folder was intercepted by a barangay official, prompting the group to circulate another petition form.

The group said they initiated the signature campaign to convince Treñas to make up his mind and continue his work in the city as congressman.

“When all the folders are filled with signatures, we will submit them to Mayor Treñas to help him decide. Maybe this is the spark that will set his political plans in motion,” the source said.

The group also adopted the popular dance hit “Nobody but you” to stress their advocacy of pushing Treñas to run for congressman.

“For us, Jerry is better than Raul Jr. as congressman that’s why we are mounting this campaign. Nobody came to us, this is our own initiative,” the source said.

Treñas said he has no knowledge about the signature campaign and disowned any link to the group.

When asked if the signature campaign will force him to decide, Treñas’ reply: “Tan-awon ta (We’ll see.)”

Treñas has been elusive with his political plans next year saying he wants to focus on his work as city mayor.

Treñas even jokingly said he might run for president – of the Parents-Teachers Community Association.

Pundits speculate Treñas might be compelled to run as vice mayor in tandem with Raul Sr. who is eyeing the city mayor’s office.

Gonzalez Sr. said he secured a copy of the Treñas for Congressman petition and revealed that Vice Mayor Jed Mabilog, who is said to be eyeing the mayoral post, is behind the campaign.

“This is a move to sow confusion among the people,” Gonzalez Sr. said over Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo.

Gonzalez Sr. said he had a long talk with Treñas over the weekend regarding politics “and we have finalized our plans.” He refused to give details.

Mabilog said Gonzalez Sr. is entitled to his own opinion as regards politics in Iloilo City, adding it is natural for the older Gonzalez to link him to the petition.

Some barangay officials identified with Gonzalez said the group might field a “3J ticket” – Jerry (Treñas) for congressman, Junior (Raul Jr.) for mayor and Joe (Espinosa III) for vice mayor.

Earlier, political pundits said Treñas might ally with Vice Mayor Jed Mabilog who is believed to be eyeing the mayoral post and Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda who is being groomed as city vice mayor – another “3J ticket.”

The proposed creation of the second congressional district in Iloilo City was seen as a form of gerrymandering or the creation of another political division to accommodate Treñas and preserve his alliance with the Gonzalezes.

But the proposed redistricting is considered dead after Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III declared that Iloilo City does not meet the required population requirement for the additional congressional district.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

ARE the Gonzalezes pulling the leg of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas as regards the proposed redistricting of the city?

Lawyer Daniel Cartagena said Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul Gonzalez Sr. and his son Rep. Raul Jr. might be fooling Treñas when they assured that the city’s redistricting will push through.

The proposed creation of a second legislative district in Iloilo City is an initiative of Rep. Gonzalez.

The measure passed the House of the Representatives but it remains stuck in the Senate committee on local governments chaired by Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III due to legal questions.

Last week, Rep. Gonzalez said the measure is still very much alive even as his father and Treñas continue to negotiate with senators.

Cartagena and other critics see the redistricting bill as a form of gerrymandering to give Treñas his own constituency should he decide to run for congressman.

Treñas will finish his third term as mayor in 2010.

Cartagena said the Gonzalezes’s statements are doubtful because while they assure that the redistricting bill is still alive, they are also preparing for their own political plans.

“Gonzalez Sr. is telling everybody that he is running for mayor while Rep. Gonzalez Jr. will surely run for his third term. That leaves Mayor Treñas out in the cold. Basi gina-intu lang nila si Mayor bala,” Cartagena said.

Cartagena said Sen. Aquino already made up his mind in not taking up the city’s redistricting bill because of legal infirmities.

“Even if the bill passes the Senate, Sen. Aquino said he will question the measure before the Supreme Court,” he added.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo


THE city and provincial governments in Iloilo and the Department of Health (DoH) are mounting massive information and monitoring efforts to prevent the entry of the influenza A H1N1 virus.


Governor Niel Tupas Sr. and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas met DoH officials headed by Dr. Ariel Valencia at the provincial capitol to discuss and consolidate their actions as the virus spreads in parts of Asia.


Treñas said the City Government will put up a task force similar to what they did during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) epidemic years back. 


The City Health Office headed by Dr. Urminico Baronda will distribute fact sheets on H1N1 flu virus in all 180 city villages and health centers.


“We will create public awareness because it is important that the people will know what this disease is all about. We will be coordinating with the provincial government to avoid overlapping of functions,” Treñas said.


Dr. Patricia Grace Trabado, Iloilo provincial health officer, said they will activate the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team that will monitor persons showing signs and symptoms of H1N1 influenza.


“We will create a master list of persons who came back home from abroad, particularly areas where cases of H1N1 influenza were recorded,” Trabado said.


The provincial government will also ask for flight manifest of airlines landing on the new Iloilo airport in Cabatuan-Sta. Barbara towns to monitor the entry of persons who came home from abroad.


Valencia said there is no need for thermal scanners at the Iloilo airport to check passengers with fever because only local flights arrive at the airport.


“We will strictly monitor the Kalibo and Caticlan airports where foreigners land en route to Boracay Island. We would need the cooperation of the local government to check on arriving tourists in Aklan. We are using forehead thermal strips to test foreign passengers if they have fever,” Valencia said.


Dr. Lino Gregorio, Bureau of Quarantine chief, said crewmembers of international vessels are being checked for fever using the forehead thermal strip.


Gregorio said international vessels are made to anchor near the coast of Nueva Valencia, Guimaras for the routine check. If the crew is cleared by quarantine officers, the ship will be allowed to dock at the Iloilo international port in Brgy. Loboc, LaPaz, Iloilo City.


Suspected cases of H1N1 flu infection should be reported to the DoH and Western Visayas Medical Center which is the referral hospital for infectious diseases.


Dr. Jose Mari Fermin, WVMC medical director, said a response team with personal protection equipment will handle the transport of suspected H1N1 patients.


Fermin said that if the infection reaches the epidemic stage, other patients who don’t suffer from H1N1 flu will be evacuated to another hospital.


“If our manpower is not enough, we can pull out workers from other hospitals using the police powers of the DoH during epidemics,” Fermin said.


If the patients test positive for H1N1 flu, they will be isolated in the infectious diseases ward of WVMC. The tests can be confirmed by the Regional Institute for Tropical Medicine in Metro Manila or Center for Disease Control in the US.


Trabado said local government units should dedicate an ambulance for transporting suspected H1N1 patients.


The DoH also has enough stocks of Tamiflu and other flu medication to be administered to suspected H1N1 cases.


Valencia discouraged self medication as H1N1 flu virus can become resistant to common flu treatments.


Valencia said their response is similar to the protocol they prepared and used during the Sars and avian flu epidemic.


“We will also hold regular briefings with the media to inform the public about the latest in H1N1 pandemic,” Valencia said.




Tupas said he was alarmed by the statement of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. that six Ilonggos who are suspected of H1N1 infection evaded thermal scanners at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and flew back to Iloilo.


Tupas said the information should have been verified first to avoid panic in the province.


Valencia said it’s impossible for passengers to evade thermal scanners “which are placed strategically in the airport.”


Valencia said they are validating the report even as they assured that Iloilo remains free of the flu.


“Those patients who showed signs of fever but tested negative for H1N1 flu were given advise on what to do. Nobody can slip past the scanners because we are strictly monitoring the airports,” Valencia said.


Three natives of Barotac Nuevo who were quarantined after showing signs of fever were allowed to go home after they were cleared of the flu.




The H1N1 flu is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease usually found in pigs that spread and infected humans through tiny particles in the air or by direct contact.


The World Health Organization (WHO) said pork products are still safe to eat as long as these were properly processed and cooked at 70 degrees centigrade.


Dr. Glen Alonsabe, Regional Epidemiological and Surveillance Unit chief, said H1N1 virus cannot survive long outside the human body and is vulnerable to high temperatures and medications such as Oseltamivir and Zanamivir.


H1N1 outbreaks have been identified in Mexico and United States. South Korea and Hong Kong were the first Asian countries to report suspected H1N1 cases.


The Philippines remains free of the flu, according to the DoH and the Department Agriculture.


The signs and symptoms of H1N1 flu include fever, nasal discharge, cough, headache, body or joints pains, sudden onset of respiratory distress and cyanosis.


To prevent infection, here are some tips:


– Stay away from people who have cough and colds especially those known to raise pigs or have pigs in their backyards;


– Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or when in front of people who have cough and colds;


– Always wash your hands before handling food and after doing some dirty work particularly after handling soiled clothes or linen, and after taking care of sick persons;


– Use protective mask and clothing when handling persons sick with flu; and


– Report to any health center or hospital any person suspected to have signs and symptoms of flu particularly those persons who just came from other countries. (With reports from City Hall PIO)

As of April 22, this is what Iloilo Flood Control Project in Jaro district looks like.  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered for the completion to be hastened.  However, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said that the two contractors for this project have two different time frames in finishing the construction. (Photo by Tara Yap)

As of April 22, this is what Iloilo Flood Control Project in Jaro district looks like. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered for the completion to be hastened. However, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said that the two contractors for this project have two different time frames in finishing the construction. (Photo by Tara Yap)


By Francis Allan L. Angelo 

ONE of the contractors of the P4-billion Iloilo Flood Control Project (IFCP) might not beat the deadline set by President Gloria Arroyo for the completion of the project.


Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said the President wanted the project to be completed end of this year instead of September 2010.


Treñas, who met Mrs. Arroyo Friday last week, said the President set the new deadline in time for the rainy season.


The multibillion-peso project is designed to prevent massive flooding in the city and surrounding towns just like what happened last year at the height of typhoon Frank.


The mayor said he met Engr. Al Fruto of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-6), IFCP project manager Jerome Borjal and representatives of contractors Hanjin Heavy Industries and China International Water and Electrical Corporation (CIWEC) to discuss the President’s instruction.


Officials of CIWEC, which is undertaking the improvement of Iloilo River, Upper Ingore creek and the banks of Jaro river mouth, said they can finish their work May to June 2009.


But Hanjin representatives said they might not beat the new deadline even if they work until 10pm daily.


The Korean firm said they will finish Package 1 of the project March or April 2010. The package includes the Jaro Floodway; construction of bridges in Brgy. Pagsanga-an and Anilao in Pavia, and Brgys. Tacas, Balabago, Buhang and Bitoon in Jaro district; and improvement of Aganan and Tigum Rivers.


Hanjin reported that they have completed more than 80% of their projects in the city.


The Jaro Floodway is 80% completed while Tacas Bridge is 94.97%, Balabago Bridge-89.40%, Buhang Bridge-88.80%, and Bito-on-85.75%.


The Daily Guardian learned that Fruto went to Manila early this week to discuss the new deadline with the DPWH central office. He was unavailable for interview.


The IFCP management staff said the rains since last week affected the progress of the project.


“You cannot just rush the project because of the massive work,” the staff said.

A case for mandamus needed to compel City govt to save Iloilo River


By Francis Allan L. Angelo


THE Iloilo City government can be sued and compelled to clear the banks of Iloilo River of illegal structures and obstructions.


Atty. Dennis Ventilacion cited the successful mandamus case filed against the Manila City government which demanded the immediate clean up of the Manila Bay.


Ventilacion told The Daily Guardian on Air over Aksyon Radyo that residents of Iloilo City can file a similar suit against the City government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources which has the primary task of protecting the environment.


Ventilacion said the Iloilo Integrated Bar of the Philippines can help file the suit if only to help save the already dying river.


Engr. Edwin Domingo, assistant director of the DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), earlier urged the Iloilo City government to check the unbridled developments on the banks of the Iloilo River to prevent further pollution and floods.


Domingo said many structures and developments are sprouting right on the banks of the river in clear violation of existing laws and regulations.


“In urban areas, the more establishments and people you put near the river, chances are they are going to use the river as garbage dump,” he said.


While it may take some time, Atty. Daniel Cartagena, another legal consultant of The Daily Guardian On Air, said a mandamus case might be imperative to compel local officials to clean the river.


“The Iloilo River has the biggest tourism potential if developed properly. We don’t have to look far when looking for tourism sites in the city. We can develop the area like the Marikina River in Metro Manila and other rivers in the world,” Cartagena said.


Cartagena said the city government lacks political will to protect the river from unbridled developments.


“Our national and local leaders belong to the same party and they have the ears of the President. We can develop this river if we have political will,” Cartagena said. He was referring to Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. and City Mayor Jerry Treñas.


The Iloilo Business Club, city government, Unites States-Asia Environmental Partnership Program and Asia Foundation completed the Iloilo River Development Plan in 2003 yet.


The masterplan identified development strategies and policies in the areas of land use and urban design; socio-economic improvement; infrastructure facilities, environmental protection and institutional mechanism. But lack of funds has put the masterplan in the doldrums.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo


THE verbal tiff between Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon could have been avoided had the committee on education of the City Council sealed the fate of the latter’s proposed city public college.


Councilor Perla Zulueta said the committee headed by Councilors Julienne Baronda and Eldrid Antiquera as chair and vice chair, respectively, should have decided on Ganzon’s measure last year.


A sideshow to the Treñas-Ganzon conflict is the councilor’s earlier claim that the mayor may have a hand in the break-in of their house in Arevalo and the theft of his two fighting cocks.


Ganzon said he also noticed suspicious looking men following him in motorcycles which he also blamed on Treñas.


The son of the late mayor Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon said the incidents have something to do with his proposed city college which Treñas had thumbed down for lack of funds and other legal issues.


Treñas labeled Ganzon’s accusations as “a nice joke” and figment of his imagination.


Zulueta said the City Council could have decided on Ganzon’s proposal if only Baronda and Antiquera rendered a report on the proposal.


Baronda had said the city college is not feasible because of financial and legal constraints.


Ganzon last year threatened to “kick” Baronda because of her negative remarks to his proposal.


“Until now, the committee on education has yet to issue a final report on this issue. They are just gathering documents but they did not collate them in a report. The least they could do is report their findings and if Ganzon is not contented he can always make his dissenting report and let the council vote on the two reports,” Zulueta said.


Zulueta added: “Maybe they are afraid of Jeffrey (Ganzon) or they don’t know that to do.”


The lack of a final report on the city college proposal compelled Ganzon to render a “progress report” on his measure before the council two weeks ago. He also pushed for the abolition of the scholarship program of the city government to pave the way for the establishment of the college.


When the plenary voted that he is in no position to render the report, Ganzon went into a fit and called the mayor a traitor and anti-poor.


Baronda and Antiquera could not be reached for their comments.


Vice Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog called for sobriety in the Treñas-Ganzon tiff.


Mabilog said they should settle their score in a peaceful manner “in the spirit of the Lenten season.”


“It’s a cause of concern because we all work for the city but we are fighting over something that could be resolved peacefully. As public servants, we should thresh things out in a professional manner,” Mabilog said.


Ex-officio Councilor Irene Ong, president of Liga ng mga Barangay-Iloilo City chapter, said she does not believe Ganzon’s accusations.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo


ILOILO City Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon claimed that Mayor Jerry Treñas may have a hand in the break-in of his house two months back.


Ganzon had claimed that men wearing masks and wielding high-powered firearms barged inside their house in Arevalo. The incident, he said, traumatized his daughter. But did not report the incident to the police.


Ganzon also accused Treñas of maintaining a private army even as he vowed not to join the mayor in the 2010 elections.


The son of the late Iloilo City mayor Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon said the incident may have something to do with his proposal to put up a city college which will benefit poor students who want to earn a degree.


While he lauded Ganzon’s proposal, Treñas said the city’s finances are not enough to sustain ICC operations.


The Iloilo City Council last year nixed Ganzon’s proposal citing the lack of a feasibility study and financial constraints.


Three weeks ago, Ganzon resurrected his proposal but was shot down by his colleagues. The fuming councilor labeled the council as anti-poor for opposing his proposal.


Treñas only smiled at Ganzon’s accusations. “Nice joke,” he said.


The city mayor said he will not resort to violence just to prove his point or impose his will. He also asked Ganzon to present proof or resign as councilor.


“That (incident) should be investigated if it’s true. His accusations against me are just his imagination. I don’t even know his house,” Treñas said.


Treñas said the City Hall’s budget will be strained if it operates a public college.


“Where shall we get the money to pay the faculty and staff? We will also spend on equipment. We don’t have enough budget for those things as of now,” Treñas said.


City treasurer Katherine Tingson said the Special Education Fund (SEF) can only be used to augment the Department of Education’s budget on elementary and secondary schools.


Treñas said the SEF is not a discretionary fund and cannot be realigned for the operations of a city college.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo


SOME congressmen don’t like the idea of adding 100 more seats in the House of Representatives in this era of the global financial crisis.


Atty. Dan Cartagena, who has been opposing the bid to create a second congressional district in Iloilo City, said he was able to talk to Rep. Jeanette Garin (1st district, Iloilo) who said she does not support the increase in House membership.


The proposal to increase House membership by 100 seats came to fore after the Senate committee on local government chaired by Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III did not act on several redistricting bills from the House.


The proposed redistricting of Iloilo City was filed by lone district Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr.


Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile then told the House leadership to file a measure to increase the number of seats in the House in order to accommodate the redistricting bills.


“It appears that not all representatives agree with the measure because of the economic crisis. We will be spending more than P10 billion just for the additional seats in the House. That money could be used to create jobs,” Cartagena said.


The plan to divide the city into two congressional districts is believed to be a ploy to avert a showdown between Gonzalez and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas over the lone congressional district.


Treñas is serving his last three-year term as mayor.

Jerry threatens to withdraw support to ICPO for lousy intel


By Francis Allan L. Angelo


ILOILO City Mayor Jerry Treñas threatened to withdraw the City Hall’s financial and logistical assistance to the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) because of its sloppy intelligence work.


Treñas said he is wondering why ICPO’s intelligence section head, Chief Insp. Musa Amiyong was complaining about the lack of intelligence fund for their activities.


Amiyong cited the lack of funds as one of the reasons why they cannot keep track of criminals in the city. He also complained that the 10-liter fuel allotted to his office every week is not enough.


Treñas said the City government allots P800,000 every year for the ICPO’s intelligence fund.


“That money is given as reward for cops who perform. Police officers who arrest and charge criminals are given P5,000 so why are they complaining. Before they complain, they should explain what are doing with the money,” Treñas said.


The mayor said he will be forced to withdraw the financial aid to the ICPO if the intelligence section does not straighten its acts.


Treñas also cited other logistical support to the ICPO in order to help improve the peace and order situation in Iloilo City.


“It is the responsibility of the PNP to provide logistics to its units. We are not the provider of the needs of the police. In fact, we are going out of our way to help the police by providing patrol cars, communication equipment and firearms. But if they complain that these are not enough, we will stop all these forms of assistance I don’t like these kinds of stories to come out,” he added.


The ICPO intelligence got flak from Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director Isagani Cuevas for its sloppy intelligence work.


Cuevas said this failure of intelligence led to the spate of bukas kotse incidents in the city.


The PRO-6 chief said the ICPO should explain why criminals are having a field day in Iloilo City.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo


THE national redistricting bill is nearing approval by Congress, according to a top Ilonggo official.


Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. said the Senate and House of Representatives are reconciling the two versions of the bill which will increase the number of congressmen in the country.


The House version, which was authored by Iloilo City Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr., proposes 50 additional seats while the Senate wants to add 100 seats.


If the bill is passed, the number of congressmen will increase from 238 to as much as 300.


Sec. Gonzalez, however, said that filling up the 100 additional seats in the House will depend on the country’s population.


The 1986 Constitution mandates that a congressional district should have a 250,000 population.


The DoJ chief said the redistricting bill is in keeping with the principle of taxation.


“The power to tax is the most potent power of the state. That’s why you need representation in order that taxation can be properly represented for the people,” he added.


The national redistricting bill came to fore after the Senate committee on local government headed by Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was flooded with numerous redistricting measures from Congress.


Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile then suggested that the House lump the individual bills into a single measure to facilitate its passage.


Enrile had assured the Gonzalezes that the bill will be passed as soon as possible.


Rep. Gonzalez earlier filed a bill creating the second congressional district of Iloilo City.


The younger Gonzalez said the creation of the second district will fast track the development of the city as it will mean more pork barrel allocations.


But critics of Rep. Gonzalez’s redistricting bill said the city did not pass the 250,000 population requisite in the Constitution as the total population of the metropolis is only more than 418,000.


The bill was also seen as way to avert a political confrontation between the Gonzalezes and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas who will end his third 3-year term in 2010.

Mayor orders crackdowns on heists


By Francis Allan L. Angelo


WHAT is the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) doing to curb down cases of car thefts and robberies in Iloilo City?


Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas has ordered the ICPO to prevent more robberies and “Basag Kotse” incidents in the city following the spate of heists over the weekend.


Treñas said he directed ICPO chief Melvin Mongcal to conduct more checkpoints daily and nightly around the metropolis.


The mayor also told the police to strictly implement the no plate, no travel policy on motorcycles and cars.


Treñas said eight more patrol cars will be issued to the ICPO to improve its mobility and responses to incidents.


Unidentified suspects have been feasting on cars parked in front of establishments in broad daylight Saturday.


Practical nursing Rowena Paderes of Cabatuan, Iloilo was shocked to discover Saturday the shattered glass window of her Mitsubishi Lancer parked inside a mall in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.


Paderes lost her laptop and other personal items inside her car.


A female physician also lost her cellphones, iPod music player and other valuables to unidentified thefts who also broke the window of her car parked outside Iloilo Medical Society compound on Luna Street, LaPaz district.


Napoleon Sinecida parked his Nissan Terrano on Quezon Street, Iloilo City proper to have lunch in a restaurant.


When Sinecida returned, his window was also shattered to pieces. He lost assorted magazines of his caliber .45 pistol.


Rice trader Vicente Dago of Pavia, Iloilo lost P30,000 cash to armed suspects at Brgy. San Isidro, LaPaz.


Senior Insp. Alexander Rosales, LaPaz police chief, said the license plate of the motorcycle used by the robbers was covered by dark plastic material.


Rosales said the suspects covered the plate to prevent investigators from tracing the owner of the motorcycle.


Rosales said he dispatched intelligence operatives to look for witnesses who saw the suspects who robbed Dago.


A photojournalist also lost his Samsung cellphone to hold-uppers in Jaro district.


Mongcal said he gave police precinct commanders in the six city districts the onus of preventing more robberies and arresting the suspects.

Treñas threatens to arrest LTO enforcers


By Francis Allan L. Angelo


ILOILO City Mayor Jerry Treñas threatened to have arrested Land Transportation Office traffic enforcers who continue to prod drivers of jeepneys in the metropolis not to follow City Hall’s traffic ordinance.


Treñas said he will order the Iloilo City Police Office to arrest LTO personnel who question the City Hall’s power to regulate vehicular traffic.


The mayor said some LTO personnel convince drivers not to follow Iloilo City’s traffic ordinance.


Treñas said the LTO’s continued crackdown on erring drivers and convincing them not to follow city traffic rules is an act of bad faith because the League of Cities in the Philippines is still negotiating with the LTO central office regarding traffic rules and enforcement.


Treñas said he will ask for the relief of police officers who will not obey his order to arrest LTO personnel.


The conflict between the City Hall and LTO erupted after the latter office said it is the only agency that can confiscate driver’s licenses and registration plates of vehicles.


The LTO regional office also rejected traffic laws enacted by the City Council.


Councilor Erwin Plagata, committee on transportation chair and Traffic Technical Working Group (TTWG) head, slammed the LTO for not recognizing the City government’s power to regulate traffic as mandated by the Local Government Code.


Drivers are caught in middle of the City Hall-LTO tiff as they incur double penalties aside from confiscation of their permits and registration plates.


Treñas was miffed by LTO’s action saying he will not back down from the said agency.


“Unless the traffic problem is sufficiently resolved by the courts, I will not buckle and I have to show my fangs. Kon gamuhon nila kag gusto nila ang inaway, ti away ta eh (If they will cause chaos and fight us, then we will fight),” a fuming Treñas said.      


The Court of Appeals (CA) recently denied a petition for certiorari filed by LTO questioning the order of a Quezon City Regional Trial Court which ordered LTO to stop enforcing Memorandum Circular (MC) 33, Special Order 101-A, Special Order 101-1RM and MC 89-105.


The four LTO issuances are relative to the confiscation and removal of license plates. 


The CA said the LTO memorandum circular is “invalid for going beyond the terms and provisions of the law.


“The power cannot be extended to amending or expanding the statutory requirements or to embrace matters not covered by the statute and rules that subvert the statute cannot be sanctioned,” the CA said.  


Plagata said the LTO has no authority to confiscate the license plates of vehicles of traffic violators since Republic Act 136 (Land Transportation and Traffic Code) does not empower the agency to do so.


He said the LTO issuances advising vehicle drivers to follow the order set by its central office “could not be over and above the law on traffic of the city government.”




Treñas said there is nothing personal in his “word war” with the LTO as he continues to use diplomatic approaches to solve the conflict.


The mayor said a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on traffic policies between the city government and the LTO is being finalized to ease out the disagreement.


Treñas said he talked with LTO chief Arturo Lomibao over the powers of the city government in implementing traffic rules and regulations as mandated by the Local Government Code and a joint memorandum of the LTO and Department of Transportation and Communications.


“The MOA could be signed either here or in Manila. We hope this will settle the issue once and for all,” he added. (With reports from Lydia C. Pendon)


By Jeehan V. Fernandez


ILOILO City Mayor Jerry Treñas was piqued by the loan shark issue which was blamed for the delayed salaries of traffic aides last month.


But Treñas dismissed the presence of loan sharks supposedly feasting on the traffic aides’ salaries even as he warned to use an iron hand on complaining traffic personnel.


Councilor Erwin Plagata earlier claimed that loan sharks colluded with some Traffic Management and Engineering Unit personnel to delay the salaries of traffic aides, forcing them to borrow money at prohibitive interest rates. 


The mayor, meanwhile, clarified said the City Government wants the traffic aides to show their drug test results first before they can get their salaries.


“It’s not true (referring to loan sharks). There was a delay on their salaries because of late submission of their drug test results which is very necessary considering their big responsibility on the streets,” the mayor explained.


City Hall requires traffic aides to undergo drug tests as requirement for applications or renewal of contracts following reports of involvement of some traffic aides with the illegal drugs trade.


A check with the City Accountant Office showed the traffic aides’ payroll was submitted Monday and their salaries were released Tuesday.


Instead of investigating the loan shark issue, Treñas said he will impose strict rules on erring traffic aides.


“We used to give leeway to traffic aides. We have given them as much time as we can but we will be very strict with them now – everything will be black and white. There are always complaints but if they are not happy with their jobs they should resign,” he said.


Treñas noted that a traffic aide was arrested and jailed after asking money from a teacher weeks ago.


City Hall has in its payroll some 300 traffic aides.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo


IF you can’t follow orders, quit.


This is one advice that Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, conveyed to Senior Insp. Virgilio Buena after the latter decried his relief from the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) because of sexual harassment charges.


A fuming Cuevas said Buena’s relief from the ICPO and transfer to the Iloilo Provincial Police Office is part of due process the PRO-6 is observing relative to the charges against him.


Buena is accused of fondling and inducing a female casual employee of the City government detailed at the LaPaz police station, charges which he denied.


Buena had earlier said that he was relieved abruptly based on unfounded accusations spreading via text messages. He also hit the culture of harassment within the ICPO and the PNP which demoralizes lower ranking cops.


The former ICPO operations officer even urged non-commissioned police officers to unite against this culture of harassment in the disorganized ICPO.


Cuevas shot back at Buena calling the latter an abusive officer for his involvement in numerous controversies.


The PRO-6 chief said the decision to remove Buena from ICPO is not his alone but a policy imposed by the PNP organization if one of its officers in facing charges or involved in controversies.


Cuevas said Buena should have been relieved by his superior officer, ICPO officer-in-charge, Supt. Eugenio Espejo.


“Everybody is covered by this policy and Buena knows that. It’s part of due process because his superior did not act immediately. If he wants due process, he should attend the hearings if a case is filed against him. If he cannot stand the policies of the PRO-6, he can leave the PNP,” Cuevas said.


Cuevas said it is normal to relieve police officers who are facing charges so they cannot influence the outcome of the investigation and also to protect the complainant.


“It would be hard for the complainant to pursue the case if the accused is keeping a watchful eye on the investigation,” he added.




Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas told Buena to shut up and stop criticizing the ICPO and the PNP where he belongs.


“Whatever he is saying will not help his case. Ang maayo pa maghipos na lang siya (It would be better for him to shut up),” Treñas said.


Treñas said he is reviewing the program of assigning casual employees at police stations to do clerical works.


The mayor said he wanted policemen to concentrate on their law enforcement duties by patrolling the streets instead of staying in their stations to do office ordinary work.

June 2020

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