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Treñas, Gonzalez word war escalates

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

CHIEF Presidential Legal Counsel Raul M. Gonzalez Sr. said Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas should look at his actions before accusing them of claiming Iloilo City as their kingdom.

Sec. Gonzalez told The Daily Guardian Wednesday that Treñas ate his own words when the mayor said that Iloilo City is not a kingdom.

“He is eating his own words. I ask you, who is oppressing people in the city? Who sacked hundreds of casual employees at the City Hall? Me? Who is using their power to harass barangay captains and casuals who don’t support him? Me? Who lays off employees then call their spouses and make them pledge their support for a candidate in exchange for employment? Isn’t that blackmail? I’m challenging Treñas on a debate on this any time,” Gonzalez said.

The word war between the former political allies erupted when reports surfaced that the Office of the Ombudsman is set to file plunder charges against Treñas relative to the anomalous P130-million housing project in Pavia, Iloilo.

The Gonzalezes denied having a hand if ever the Ombudsman has resolved the case. But Sec. Gonzalez Sr. said he once influenced the anti-graft body to go slow on the case to protect Treñas who was just elected to his first term as city mayor in 2001.

Treñas, who is running for congressman against incumbent Rep. Raul T. Gonzalez Jr., said the Gonzalezes are experts in harassment and intimidation in the city.

Treñas said the housing scam issue keeps on surfacing during election season to malign him.

Sec. Gonzalez said Treñas was wrong in insinuating that he can influence the Ombudsman to file the charges against him.

“The fact is he has a case and he must answer that. The one in control of the case is not Raul Gonzalez, (but) the Ombudsman. Is he insinuating that I can dictate the Ombudsman?” he added.

But Gonzalez also claimed he convinced the Ombudsman not to prioritize the housing project scam to protect the mayor.

“I was the one who made him mayor. I used my influence as a congressman at that time, especially during budget hearings, to ask the Ombudsman not to prioritize the case. I did not tell them not to attend to the case but just to prioritize other cases swamping their office. That was done in good faith, for his own protection,” he added.

Sec. Gonzalez said Treñas is not entirely blameless in the housing scam because the latter signed the plans for the project which are part of the contract.

He also rapped the mayor for releasing the P17-million initial payment a day after issuing the notice to proceed to winning bidder Ace Builders Enterprise.

“Is there a carpenter or architect who can accomplish P17 million worth of project in one day? Is the construction of the foundations alone worth P17 million?” Sec. Gonzalez said.

Sec. Gonzalez also likened Treñas to a sinner who seeks refuge behind the phrase “politically motivated.”

“That is the refuge of sinners when you say it’s politically motivated. In Spanish ‘refugio peccatorum.’ Whether it’s politically motivated or not, the fact remains that there is a case. It’s a fact they have not explained,” he added.

The Gonzalezes yesterday played Sta. Claus to 205 casual employees who lost their jobs the past months.

The former employees, who mostly served the city government for more than 10 years, received a bag of rice and P1,000 cash.

Sec. Gonzalez said he used his personal money to help the employees who are facing a bleak Christmas.

He said he has yet to receive any formal response from Treñas relative to his remaining P5-million pork barrel fund which he gave to City Hall when he was still congressman.

“From our own accounting, my remaining Priority Development Assistance Fund is still a little over P5 million. I asked for liquidation from City Hall because I intend to give the money to the sacked casuals,” Sec. Gonzalez.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

CHIEF Presidential Legal Counsel Raul M. Gonzalez Sr. challenged former senator Franklin Drilon to run in Iloilo City and face the former in a debate.

Gonzalez issued the challenge to Drilon after the latter made his “Triple J versus Triple G” statement during the mass oath taking of Liberal Party members in Iloilo City Wednesday.

Drilon was referring to the alliance of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas (congressman), Vice Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog (mayor) and Councilor Julienne Baronda (vice mayor) in the 2010 elections.

With Triple G, Drilon meant “guns, goons and gold”, an apparent swipe at the Gonzalez camp.

Sec. Gonzalez Sr. will run for mayor under Partido Lakas-Kampi-CMD while his son Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr. will seek a second term. Councilor Antonio Pesina is the older Gonzalez’s running mate.

Sec. Gonzalez said Drilon’s statements were irresponsible for a former Senate president to make.

“Do you know any goons that I hire? Do you know of anyone I hurt or harassed during elections? I don’t have guns and goons. Gold maybe because I also have my own resources,” he said.

He said he is not very affluent “because I don’t have money that Drilon earned from (the airport project in) Cabatuan.”

Sec. Gonzalez said he does not understand why Drilon keeps on sniping at him “when I supported until 2004.”

“In 2001, I urged my supporters to support him also. I don’t know why he is after my head,” he added.

For the older Gonzalez, Drilon hates competition in Iloilo City politics reason why he keeps on criticizing the former.

“He wants to be the only kingpin in Iloilo City. But I’m wondering why he did not run for congressman in Iloilo City in 2007 even if he transferred his voter’s registration here,” Gonzalez said.

Drilon also boasted of his numerous projects in Iloilo City when he was still senator, something the Gonzalezes failed to do in their 15 years of rule in the metropolis.

But Gonzalez said he cannot compare himself to Drilon who had bigger pork barrel when he was still in the Senate.

“Senators have bigger pork barrels than congressmen. And they control their own allocation while the House has to make use of whatever is allocated to them,” he said.

Gonzalez said Drilon should show his true spunk by running for Iloilo City mayor and face him in a debate on projects and Iloilo City politics.

“Maybe you should also ask Drilon if any Ilonggo was able to enter his Senate office. During my time at the Department of Justice, anybody can enter even if they are wearing slippers and short pants. I don’t know with Drilon,” he said.

He said Drilon should think first before opening his mouth “because he does not know what he is saying.”

Gonzalez will do ‘anything’ for city’s redistricting

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

CHIEF Presidential Legal Counsel Raul M. Gonzalez Sr. is willing to sell his soul to anybody if only to realize the redistricting of Iloilo City.

Gonzalez said he is also willing to leave the administration party in order to fulfill his desire to create a second congressional district in the metropolis.

The Iloilo City redistricting bill, which was filed by Rep. Raul T. Gonzalez Jr., has hurdled the House of Representatives.

However, its counterpart measure in the Senate is still pending in the committee on local governments chaired by Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Gonzalez Sr. earlier said Aquino gave false hopes to Ilonggos when he promised to deliberate on the redistricting bill.

Aquino denied Gonzalez’s accusation saying the redistricting bill does not satisfy the population requirement set by the 1986 Constitution for the creation of new districts. 

Gonzalez said he is losing hope on the passage of the redistricting bill before the November deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy.

The former justice secretary said he will do anything to realize the second congressional district in Iloilo City.

“I was willing to sell my soul to them in exchange for the passage of the bill. I feel bad because the bill has been sleeping in Noynoy’s (Aquino) committee for one year and a half. Noynoy promised me that he will schedule a committee deliberation on the bill April 3,” Gonzalez Sr. said.

The older Gonzalez said he is willing to support the Liberal Party if the redistricting bill hurdles Aquino’s committee.

Aquino is the LP’s presidential bet in the May 2010 elections.

Gonzalez had accused LP stalwarts, particularly former Senate President Franklin Drilon of impeding the redistricting bill.   

But Drilon had denied Gonzalez’s allegation saying the city is not qualified for another congressional district under the 1986 Constitution.

Gonzalez said Aquino and Drilon have no sense of gratitude.

“I helped Noynoy’s father, the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, when he was facing cases during the Marcos dictatorship. I also helped Drilon when he ran for senator,” Gonzalez said.

The redistricting bill is seen as a mechanism to prevent a clash between Rep. Gonzalez and Iloilo City Jerry Treñas for the lone congressional district of Iloilo City.

Treñas is currently serving his last three-year term but he has yet to announce his plans for the 2010 elections. (With reports from Bombo Radyo-Iloilo)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

SENATOR Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III rebutted claims that he gave false hopes to those who support the redistricting of Iloilo City.

In a press conference at the provincial capitol Friday, Aquino, Senate committee on local government chair, said he promised to conduct a hearing on the bill seeking to create a second congressional district in Iloilo City.

“Tuloy ang hearing but my position follows two criteria set by the Constitution – population and territory. In the case of Iloilo City, the population requirement was not met,” Aquino said.

Aquino was referring to the provision of the 1986 Constitution which states that each congressional district must have at least 250,000 population.

In the case of Iloilo City, it needs a total of 500,000 population to qualify for another congressional district. But the latest population survey shows that the city only has more than 418,000 residents. 

Earlier, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul Gonzalez Sr. earlier lambasted Aquino for giving false hopes to Ilonggos on the redistricting bill.

Gonzalez said Aquino promised to hear the bill when it reaches the Senate but the latter simply sat on it. 

“I assured the good secretary that we will hear the bill but at the end of the day, I am constrained by the Constitution,” Aquino said.

Aquino said the Supreme Court decision Gonzalez’s cited to push for the redistricting is still debatable.

The SC decided in Mariano vs Commission on Elections last March 7, 1995 that the legislative district of a city or province can be increased if it has met the minimum population requirement of 250,000.

“I just want to be fair. Proportional representation ang pinag-uusapan. The actual basis should be proportion: if Iloilo City has 250,000 population, it can have a district. If the population is less than the requirement, we cannot create another district. Dapat pantay-pantay lang because we all have equal rights,” Aquino said.

The senator said the redistricting bill will be useless as the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy is already near.

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.

June 2020

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