A family feud (Part II)

Joe III picturejerry trenas picture

Is the relationship between City Mayor Joe Espinosa III and Congressman Jerry Trenas now beyond repair?

This question is now being asked by most people in Iloilo City after eight Executive Assistants identified with Trenas reportedly resigned on Monday after reportedly being asked about where their loyalties lay.

The version of Joe III is that the city mayor called for a meeting with his executive assistants on Friday morning, but nobody among the Trenas-identified assistants showed up. In the afternoon, they were summoned by Senior Executive Assistant Jojo Castro and were given a gentle reminder about being loyal to the service, and not to any politician.

The Executive Assistants gave a different version: Castro reportedly told them to choose between Trenas and Joe III. This is what triggered their move to file their resignations, so their version goes.

But whatever really happened, this episode is an indication that the relationship between the brothers-in-law is not improving. It turned from bland to sour.

The apparent falling out is being interpreted by most people as a sure sign the “magbilas” are headed to a showdown for the mayorship in 2019.

Trenas has announced last week that upon the egging of most barangay captains in the city, he decided to run again for city mayor in next year’s elections, a move that didn’t sit well with Joe III. As the incumbent local chief executive, Joe III feels he deserved to have a say on who was running for what position. Joe III felt that Trenas couldn’t just presume to be the kingpin everybody would just obey on political decisions like this.

The unfolding events caused a lot of excitement among local political figures who sensed that a head-on collision between the “magbilas” was going to open opportunities for them.

A combined political machinery of Trenas and Joe III (the latter just having put his own imprint on the political landscape after he succeeded to the mayorship five months ago) would be formidable. If they could agree on running together, almost nobody has a fair chance of surviving the political juggernaut they could deploy. The dismissal of Jed Patrick E. Mabilog as city mayor last October meant that the political game has become, or could be, a family affair.

The classic “divide-and-conquer” principle is clearly on everybody’s mind with what is happening. That’s the reason some are encouraging it, adding fuel to the fire.

I’m not inclined to believe the brewing quarrel will not be resolved.

In the end, the interests of the family will triumph over personal and petty issues. The issue here is about respect, or the perceived lack of it, shown by one toward the other. Trenas and Joe III are tied by a powerful umbilical cord — the Sarabia family. This is the reason why the voices now emerging from both camps are now starting to be more sober, less provocative.

But should the situation not change, and get worse, then it presents a ripe opportunity for other political figures to rise to the occasion. I would expect these politicians to form alliances with either Trenas or Joe III. If the “magbilas” collide for the mayorship, then the congressional seat for the lone district will become open season.

Overpriced City Hall is also a haunted building with ‘ghost employees’

Overpriced City Hall is also a haunted building with 'ghost employees'

The Liberal Party candidate for city mayor of Iloilo City is embroiled in a scandal after a whistle blower exposed the existence of “ghost job hires” in the Mabilog administration.
Millions of pesos are believed to be siphoned by this syndicate linked to Mabilog every month by simply padding payrolls with names who do not really work and do not receive salaries.

Whistle blower confirms ‘ghost job hires’ in Iloilo City Hall

Whistle blower confirms 'ghost job hires' in Iloilo City Hall

A former NPA commander who has returned to the folds of the law 22 years ago confirmed yesterday (May 9) that he and 24 other persons from his barangay in Jaro, Iloilo City are ghost job hire employees of Jed Patrick Mabilog.
Macario Aloquin said a syndicate in the Mabilog administration has been collecting their wages amounting to P6,880 a month since October 2012 even though none of them are really working.
Aloquin said he discovered from payroll records that his name continues to be listed in a job hire contract for the period March 1-June 30, 2013 even though he has cut his ties from Mabilog since December 2012.

The ‘baluktot’ gang strikes again

I received a text message shortly after lunch on Friday, March 15, that BIR commissioner Kim Henares had just concluded a press conference informing the Iloilo media about the elevation of the agency’s case against UNA mayoralty candidate Rommel Ynion to the Court of Tax Appeals. The charge: that Rommel Ynion had a tax deficiency of P46 million (down from the original claim of P84 million) from the operations of his businesses in previous years.

At first, it didn’t register in my mind that Henares conducted her press conference in Iloilo City. When I did, I suddenly realized that Rommel Ynion is now battling with the national government itself —- the Aquino administration. What wrongs have Rommel Ynion committed to warrant such a full-scale attack from the national government? There are so many tax cheats around, and they hardly merit time and space from the BIR (ina-areglo lang ang kaso).

The answer is politics. Henares quipped that she isn’t aware that Rommel Ynion is a candidate for city mayor. Who would believe her on that? Why was sent over to Iloilo City to hold the press conference? And why the haste in bringing the case to the Court of Tax Appeals? Somebody must really be so eager to put Rommel Ynion in bad light.

This is apparently another handiwork of the “baluktot” gang in Iloilo City, the gang of politicians who are raking hundreds of millions of pesos from infrastructure projects that they banner as “development projects”. They see Rommel Ynion as a threat to their rackets, and they want him out of the way. President Aquino is being misled about the true state of things in Iloilo City. The crooks are on his side, not on the other side.

Is President Aquino being blinded about the rampant corruption of Jed Patrick Mabilog and Jerry Trenas? Is he aware of the corruption in the Hall of Justice? Instead of a “matuwid na daan”, we are seeing a crooked road in Iloilo City, and the guys on the deck are this gang of three — Drilon, Trenas and Mabilog. Well, if their purpose is to harass and persecute, Rommel Ynion has vowed to fight to the last breath exposing the truth about the corruption. He will not surrender to this arrogant abuse of power.

An empty threat

Few people showed interest when Senator Franklin Drilon led public officials in the ground breaking of a P300 million road widening project for the Benigno Aquino Ave. (better known as Diversion Road) in Iloilo City. Ilonggos were more interested in what he had to say about the controversial retrofitting of the Hall of Justice.

Reporters who covered the event remarked that Drilon’s face darkened in irritation, and even anger, when a question about the Hall of Justice anomaly was thrown at him. In arrogant fashion, Drilon threatened to send anybody found responsible for any anomaly. But he made it clear that whoever is complaining should show proof about the anomaly.

That remark (or threat) raised eye brows among Ilonggos. How could anybody be charged for the anomaly when Drilon himself isn’t too keen about conducting an investigation? Why didn’t he lead a Senate investigation into this project? After all, it’s his name that’s being dragged into this mess. It would be to his interest to clear the air on the issue.

Perhaps Drilon thinks he can glaze over the ugly scandal with promises of more projects. Ilonggos are sick and tired of the corruption here. The Pavia Housing Scam. The San Isidro relocation scam. The City Hall scam. So much money have been stolen from the people. The time to end all of this is now. And the elections on May 13, 2013 will provide that opportunity.


Iloilo City Hall ‘corrupt’ – business sector

Mabilog declares war vs Panay News

City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog has zero tolerance for a critical media. He prevented Panay News from being peddled in the Iloilo Esplanada on Saturday, Aug. 18. This is an assault on press freedom. He doesn’t own the Esplande. Read the link below:


Mabilog declares war vs Panay News.