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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.

Gonzalezes deny influencing Ombud on Pavia housing scam

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

“DON’T look at us.”

THIS was the reaction of the Gonzalez camp to reports that the Office of the Ombudsman is set to file a plunder case against Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas for the P134-million housing project scam.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul M. Gonzalez Sr. denied influencing the Ombudsman to “move” the case after Treñas broke away from their group last month to run for congressman.

“We have nothing to do about any prospective resolution of the Pavia housing case. It is easy for our enemies to attribute to us things that go against them,” Sec. Gonzalez said.

But Sec. Gonzalez said he told the anti-graft body to hide the housing scam case because he was responsible for Treñas’ election as city mayor.

“I did not want any issues to be raised against Treñas because he has just been elected mayor (in 2001). I told the Ombudsman not to prioritize the case,” he added.

Rep. Raul T. Gonzalez Jr. said they are not surprised if the Ombudsman has resolved the case as it has been languishing in the anti-graft agency for sometime now.

But Rep. Gonzalez, who is seeking re-election against Treñas, denied any hand in any decision of the Ombudsman relative to the anomalous housing project located in Pavia, Iloilo.

“We even wrote the Ombudsman regarding the status of the case because it was not moving. If the Ombudsman has approved the filing of the case, it is because the issue is long overdue and ought to be resolved,” Rep. Gonzalez said.

The housing project, which was financed by a P130-million bond flotation, began in 2001 and was supposed to be completed in 2003.

But in 2002, Rudy Gonzales, a sub-contractor of ACE Builders Enterprises (ABE), the winning contractor of the project, exposed the alleged substandard materials and engineering of the housing units after the ABE failed to pay his services.

Rep. Gonzalez Jr., then a city councilor, led the investigation on the housing project as chairman of the committee on good government.

In 2003, the committee on good government released its findings and recommended the rescission of the contract and the filing of criminal and administrative charges against ABE, Treñas and other City Hall officials.

The committee also asked the Office of the Ombudsman to dig deeper into the anomaly.

Three administrative cases relative to the project are docketed as OMB-V-C-03-0715-K, OMB-V-C-03-0716-K and OMB-V-A-03-661-K.

Rep. Gonzalez said the City Council did not approve the committee report, reason why they submitted a copy of the report to the Ombudsman for further investigation.

He said Treñas was included as one of the respondents in the case because he signed the contract with ABE without authorization from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

“It was former Mayor Mansueto Malabor who was authorized to sign the contract. Mayor Treñas also failed to endorse the signed contract to the City Council for ratification,” Rep. Gonzalez said.

Rep. Gonzalez added that officials involved in the case should face the charges instead of blaming their group.

“They should answer the issues instead of blaming us,” he said.

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

ILOILO City Rep. Raul T. Gonzalez Jr. said he was pained by the decision of Mayor Jerry P. Treñas to challenge him in the 2010 congressional race in the city.

Describing Treñas as his “friend who strayed away”, Gonzalez expressed his dismay over the mayor’s decision to tangle against him in 2010 during a press conference Wednesday at Iloilo Grand Hotel.

What was supposed to be a simple media interaction turned into a show of force what with the presence of 144 incumbent punong barangays, 50 ex-punong barangays and 34 barangay kagawads.

Marjorie, a staff of Rep. Gonzalez’s district office, said they sent out the invitation to village chiefs on Tuesday right after Treñas announced his decision to run for congressman.

Gonzalez said Treñas’ decision was not unexpected as they already heard speculations about the mayor’s plans for 2010.

Treñas said he will also quit Partido Lakas-CMD Kampi as a consequence of his decision to challenge Rep. Gonzalez.

The incumbent congressman said the development is painful not only for him but for their entire group, including the barangay captains.

“I was pained by his act and I know most of our barangay captains and supporters feel the same way too,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said he has no quarrel with Treñas and they share the same views on how to run Iloilo City.

“We share the same visions (but) why can’t he wait? Three years is very short. I still feel the pangs of the 2007 elections,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez is gunning for his last three-year term next year.

Gonzalez also took exceptions from Treñas’ statement last Tuesday that he heeded the people’s call that he run for congressman.

“Does he mean to say that the leaders of the barangays don’t carry the voice of the people? Our party gave importance to the barangay leaders by heeding their calls because they represent their constituents,” he added.

The congressman said his father, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul M. Gonzalez Sr., made several offers to Treñas in order to preserve their team. But he said he did not participate in the negotiations out of delicadeza.

“We had plans for him because of his leadership quality, intelligence and track record. It would be such a waste if we don’t harness his abilities to develop the city like what we did before.”

Despite their looming rivalry next year, Gonzalez said he wishes Treñas all the best for next year.

“He is still the best mayor I know and a good leader. I know his competence and intelligence but I am not afraid,” Gonzalez said.

He also thanked the mayor for finally announcing his decision “as we have been planning to declare our slate but we postponed it until he made public his plans.”


Rep. Gonzalez said their party will hold a convention November 14 to decide who will be their candidates for vice mayor and councilors.

 As regards punong barangays who will support Treñas, Gonzalez said their party is still open for them.

“Our doors are not yet closed (to them) because our city acknowledges the contributions of our barangay leaders,” he added.

Gonzalez said Treñas’ decision to break away from their group is a natural evolution and consequence because their party is the strongest to rise in Iloilo City. 

“But as long as we stand united, we will prevail,” Gonzalez said amidst cheers from village chiefs and other supporters.

Rep. Gonzalez slams monopolistic pension fund

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

GOVERNMENT employees can secede from the Government Service Insurance Service (GSIS) which is under fire for delayed remittance of pensions and other problems.

Iloilo City Rep. Raul T. Gonzalez Jr. said he will help public employees who want to break away from GSIS and form their own insurance group that will cater to their needs.

Gonzalez broached this proposal in his letter to the Iloilo City Council which requested the congressman to initiate a congressional inquiry into the inability of GSIS to serve the needs of its members.

Gonzalez believes that GSIS’ monopolistic nature is the cause of its woes.

“I believe that GSIS is inefficient because it is a monopoly. The long-term solution to this problem is to break up its stranglehold on our civil servants by opening up the market to other players,” Gonzalez said in his letter dated October 13, 2009.

The congressman said the 500,000-strong public school teachers, which is 30% of government employees, can break away from the state pension fund and form their own insurance firm.

“The same is true with our uniformed personnel; if our soldiers and policemen want to secede from GSIS, I would lend them my support,” Gonzalez added.

Gonzalez said he already House Resolution No. 1049 last March 2009 which called for an inquiry on the computerization program of the GSIS and purported “glitch” in its system which resulted in poor service to its members.

The investigation focused on why GSIS’ computer system provided by IBM Corp. crashed which delayed the updating of members’ contributions and the retirees’ pensions.

On May 11, 2009, the resolution was referred to the House committee on government enterprises and privatization chaired by Rep. Felix Alfelor Jr. of Camarines Sur.

Alfelor has conducted several hearings which were attended by GSIS and IBM officials and cause-oriented groups such as Alliance of Concerned Teachers and Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees.

Gonzalez said the committee has yet to come up with its report on the investigation.

The Iloilo City congressman said GSIS only offered short-term solutions such as fine-tuning its software and resolving the kinks in its computer system.

“During our last hearing, the two parties (GSIS and IBM) pledged to work double-time and gave verbal assurances that the current problems will be solved by December 2009 to January 2010,” Gonzalez said.

Several GSIS members have filed complaints against the state-pension fund for delayed pensions and other problems.

The Visyas Ombudsman also asked the GSIS to explain and resolve the delayed remittance of retirees’ pensions.

January 2021

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