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Positioning


The political season has definitely started for Iloilo City.

Last week, Long District Cong. Jerry P. Trenas, although still serving a 90-day preventive suspension from the Sandiganbayan, met with barangay officials and other grass-roots leaders in an apparent effort to get his political machinery warmed up. For several days, his office beside the Iloilo Fire Station was crowded with people from all walks of life. He reiterated his announcement about running for City Mayor once more and asked for their pledge of support. These meetings were buttered by P500 for each individual as “allowance”.

On the other hand, City Mayor Joe Espinosa III also convened a meeting of job hires — the backbone of the political juggernaut for as long as we can remember — with a similar agenda.  The job hires, which usually reach a peak of 5,000 people during an election year, were reminded on where their continued stay in City Hall depended on: the appointing authority.

This is rather amusing because all these happened as everybody else just sat still, waiting for developments to unfold. There was hardly a stirring in the “opposition camp”. The general mood was “wait-and-see” as this quarrel between brothers-in-law unfolded. Will this cold war worsen and ignite an all-out war between erstwhile allies? Or will cooler heads succeed in repairing the relationship which used to look like a Batman-and-Robin partnership?

Meanwhile, there are politicians waiting in the winds, waiting for cues as to what they will do next. Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, former Councilor Lex Tupas and former Councilor Jam-Jam Baronda are among those eyeing either the mayorship or congressional seat. Their decisions will depend on how this quarrel between Trenas and Espinosa will play out.

If a collision is inevitable, then Tupas and Baronda can aspire for the congressional seat. They would just need to ally with one of the two factions. Ganzon, although he is perceived to be the strongest aside from Trenas and Espinosa, lacks the financial capability. I would not be surprised if he is recruited as running mate by either one of the two. Ganzon would be the favorite for vice mayor in 2019 if that happens.

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About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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