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Armed to the teeth

Back when drug lords were still demi-gods in Iloilo City, pictures of goons under their payroll were often posted on social media to boast about their power and closeness to political leaders.

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Trenas: Joe III is still welcome to team up

Even as all indications point to an ultimate showdown with his own brother-in-law for the mayorship of Iloilo City in the May 13, 2019 local elections, Cong. Jerry P. Trenas continues to hope that City Mayor Joe Espinosa III will “be guided by the Holy Spirit” and realize that their unity will enable them to sustain the gains of the last eight years.

In an interview Friday night (June 29), Trenas explained that his decision to return to the political arena after announcing his retirement in December 2016 came after the dismissal of then City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog late last year. “The equation suddenly changed, and the triumvirate that enjoyed the series of political victories had a missing leg,” Trenas said.JPT interview Maayong Gab-i Iloilo

Trenas said the circumstances was different at the time he made the announcement.

“I wanted to preserve the unity of our group, and since my third term as congressman was ending in 2019, there was no place for me to go, as the positions that will be vacant are City Mayor and Congressman. Our plan was to field Jed as congressman and Joe III as city mayor,” Trenas said.

The wives of Trenas and Espinosa are sisters.

But the unexpected dismissal of Mabilog as city mayor in October 2017 changed the picture. He felt there was a need for him to return to the political arena as City Mayor while Joe III can make the move to the congressional seat he was vacating.

“There’s now a place for both of us,” he said.

Trenas brushed aside accusations that he had broken his word. If Mabilog was not dismissed, he would have stuck to his commitment as he did not want to destroy the unity of their group, he said.

Right now, Trenas said he is still holding off a decision to pick who will run as congressman under his ticket to give time for Espinosa to change his mind and reconcile.

Two former city councilors, Lex Tupas and Jamjam Baronda, have signified their interest in running for the House with him.

Trenas said he has asked the two to keep going around the city to meet with local leaders and gain their trust and confidence. If Joe III doesn’t change his mind, then he will pick from one of the two, he said.

Drilon doesn’t want probe on radio station assault

Panay News Drilon No Probe

Stealing APEC 2015

Jed Patrick E. Mabilog, Ph.D. (from a garage sale), spent one hour this morning attacking me for supposedly stealing from Iloilo City the glory of hosting the 2015 APEC Ministers Meeting.
He accused me (without mentioning my name, stupid coward that he is) of depriving taxi drivers, souvenir shop owners, restaurants, hotels and other businesses of the income he claims would shower upon them should the meetings push through as planned.
Well, okay Mr. Mayor, I plead guilty as charged.

IloiloCenter1
I stole another opportunity for your money-making schemes.
So what do you want to do? Send me to jail for it?
Mabilog thinks Ilonggos are as stupid as he is.
How can one man stop this entire activity with a national government, and a Big Man, behind it?
If everything is above-board, and there are no anomalies, there is no individual or group that could prevent its staging.
But everything about the Iloilo Convention Center is irregular, illegal.
That’s the reason Senate President Drilon is trying to muster all the support he can get to discredit me and camouflage his misdeeds.
This is indeed a funny situation.
I am a mere “batil” or wood-hulled boat, and he has deployed the entire Navy fleet against me.
Their own actions betray their corruption.

Increase in Iloilo City’s real property taxes unjustified

City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog spent an afternoon trying to persuade real property owners in Iloilo city, particularly those belonging to the business sector, that a general revision of the local schedule of market values for real properties is necessary.

Mabilog said Iloilo City needs more revenues to meet its obligations. The IRA share of the city has been reduced, he claimed, with the addition of several new cities. He tried to downplay the fact that Iloilo City is wallowing in debt, and its present financial condition is choking its ability to pay for them.

There’s no argument a general revision is necessary. There have been a number of infrastructure projects that has changed the landscape of the city. New business parks have started to emerge. Under ordinary circumstances, these are solid ground upon which to anchor increasing the market values of real estate properties in Iloilo City.

But there is one important point that drowns this argument in its favor. And that is wasteful manner by which the Mabilog administration has managed the city’s finances. At no other time in the city’s history have we seen as many as 5,000 job hires in its payroll. That is a best estimate, because the city government is keeping the figures under wraps. But if there is one thing I can be sure about, it’s the fact that hundreds of millions of pesos were expended to pay for their wages.

The job hires are just one example of fiscal mis-management of the city. The city government loves to throw away money on senseless activities. The Mabilog administration spends millions to buy lechon and flowers. It is now in the process of buying the Ker and Company property at a dizzying price of P46 million. That property will be turned into a parking lot.

The Mabilog administration hasn’t come clean on issues of overpricing for the Iloilo City Hall building. It hasn’t explained to the people why more than a hundred million in taxes were paid for the city’s loan for the Pavia housing project. So much money wasted, and it can’t even pay its utility bills with PECO and PLDT.

Real Property taxes are the city’s biggest local source of revenues. Its share in the Internal Revenue Allotment contributes the heftiest sum for its annual budget. It has a right to collect this real property tax. But that is based on the assumption that its revenues are allocated for activities that contribute to the well-being of the people in the community.

On this point, we should oppose any move to increase real property taxes. Not until the Mabilog administration can convince us that it is handling our money with prudence should we agree to shelling out bigger sums of money for the city. We should not be hoodwinked into supporting the wastefulness of this city mayor with our hard-earned money.

Jed’s deal with Injap on Parola terminal “dead” – lawyer

The controversial P135-million private-public partnership (PPP) agreement between the Iloilo City government and Double Dragon Properties Inc. has been permanently shelved after a prominent Ilonggo lawyer based in Manila voiced his strong objections to City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog.

This was revealed Tuesday by Atty. Rex Rico who said he was assured by Mabilog that the contract under its present terms and conditions has been “held in abeyance indefinitely”. 

Atty. Rico spoke to this writer at the De Paul College where the Hall of Justice is temporarily situated. Both of us chanced upon each other at Branch 35.

“It’s scrapped for all intents and purposes,” Atty. Rico said. “But if they insist on proceeding with the contract, then I’ll go all the way to the Supreme Court to question its legality.”

Atty. Rico made this disclosure after I thanked him for the views he had expressed at a cable TV interview several months ago on the lopsided terms and conditions of the contract. I said I felt vindicated by his coming out to question the contract as “null and void” and that it will put city officials in hot waters if implemented.

“No, I went a step further after that interview,” he said. “I wrote City Mayor Mabilog telling him he would be liable criminally along with the city council,” he added.

At first, his letter was just ignored by Mabilog and Vice Mayor Joe Espinosa III, he said. “After about a month, I sent another letter reminding them that they could be charged before the Ombudsman for failure to reply to my letter,” he said.

That’s when both Mabilog and Espinosa wrote him on the status of the project, he revealed.

Atty. Rico reminded Mabilog that he wasn’t raising his objections for any other purpose than to make sure the law isn’t violated, he told me. “It’s not because of politics. He knows that I had supported his candidacy, and in fact, my brother is working as his Executive Assistant,” he said.

He added it’s understandable for Mabilog not to admit publicly that the contract was littered with anomalous terms and conditions after I had filed a case against him before the Ombudsman.

When I told him that Mabilog operated four Mang Inasal outlets in Metro Manila and Luzon, Atty. Rico said that this exposed the local chief executive to the issue of “conflict of interest”.

“I didn’t know that, but if that is indeed true, then Mabilog violated the anti-graft law when he signed the contract,” he explained.

Jing Jing Espinosa: “Vote straight T-M-E”

The cover photo of Jing Jing Espinosa’s wall displays the team poster of the Trenas-Mabilog-Espinosa ticket. He is the number one supporter and campaign funder of the Team Palagyo.