Thursday, November 05, 2009

Political Battle Lines Drawn in Iloilo

With barely a month before the COMELEC-appointed deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacies, the political battle lines are firming up in Iloilo. Most recently, outgoing Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas proclaimed that he is vying for the city’s lone congressional post thus setting the stage for an exciting battle royale between him and his erstwhile political ally Congressman Raul Gonzalez, Jr. In the coming weeks, people expect to see further realignments and the completion of candidates’ slates.

Earlier this month, House Majority Leader Art Defensor formally declared that he will again run for governor pitting him against Barotac Viejo Mayor Raul Tupas, son of outgoing Governor Niel Tupas, Sr. Held at the posh Hotel del Rio, Defensor’s coming-out party was an impressive “show-of-force” since it was attended by four out of the five incumbent congressmen of Iloilo, almost the entire Sangguniang Panlalawigan and 32 out of the 43 mayors of the province. For his part, Governor Tupas announced that he intends to run for congressman in the Fourth District against Representative Ferjenel Biron while another son, Niel Tupas, Jr. is vying for reelection in the Fifth District against the come-backing Rolex Suplico. Provincial Administrator Manuel “Boy” Mejorada, Tupas’s right-hand man, is planning to contest the Second District seat of Congresswoman Judy Syjuco along with Pavia Mayor Cadio Gorriceta. Governor Tupas has yet to proclaim a bet for the First District and it seems that Janet Garin will be the only incumbent representative which will have a relatively easy reelection bid.

It is also apparent that the 2010 elections in Iloilo will be fought along the Liberal Party vs. Lakas-Kampi lines. The Liberal Party has a strong “presence” both in the province and the city and among all the various opposition parties, it is only the group capable of fielding a respectable slate of candidates in all positions to be contested from governor down to municipal councilors. With several “evenly-matched” candidates, the 2010 race promises to be a very exciting one in Iloilo.

Admittedly, I am one of those who wished that Mayor Trenas would run for vice mayor instead and remain with the Gonzalez group because not only will it break the existing “political equilibrium” in Iloilo City but personally, it will also threaten to upset harmonious relationships between family members. Definitely, there is truth to the saying that “all politics is local.” And if all politics is local, then local politics is indubitably personal. In my family for example, my uncle Atty. Greg Rubias is the law partner of Mayor Trenas while I on the other hand work as legislative consultant for Congressman Raul Gonzalez, Jr. and count among my close friends another Gonzalez son. I am sure like me there are many Ilonggos out there who find themselves in a similar situation being forced to choose between the Gonzalez and Trenas camps. Mandurriao ABC President Ricky Mendoza (no relation) in an interview over Aksyon Radyo perhaps captured the general sentiment when he said that “masubo gid kag daw indi ko mabal-an himu-on ko” in reaction to Trenas’s decision. That is why even though someone “in the know” already told me two days before that Trenas is indeed running for congressman, I refused to believe it and I was still hoping that Mayor Trenas will see the “wisdom” of Secretary Gonzalez’s plan i.e. that in case something happens to him midway into his term (assuming he wins), City Hall would remain in good hands and not inadvertently fall into the hands of a “clueless” person. In fairness to the old man Gonzalez, he tried everything to avert a fight - everyone in Iloilo City knows that the bill re-apportioning the city into two districts was tailor-fit for Mayor Jerry – and was nothing but supportive of Mayor Jerry's political career til now. But perhaps it was wishful thinking on my part to expect a politician to set aside personal ambition for the sake of sentimentality and such “foolish notions” like loyalty, camaraderie, harmony, etc. because we all know that a politician’s loyalty to a group ends where personal ambition begins.


francis magno said...

I have pursued your views in conjuction with the political realities prevailing now and in the near future of the cyclic electoral battle come May 2010.

Presidential Chief Legal Adviser Raul Gonzalez,Sr is all-wise in securing the plans for a united front of the governing party (Lakas-Kampi) in Iloilo City. The failed redistricting plan and the political alliance with Mayor Jerry Trenas are geared towards
perpetuation of themselves in political power, no longer on beneficial issues for teh poorest among the poor, but all because Don Raul has the millions for mobilization of some 144 captive barangay captains, in securing via micro-managing each and every voter in their sovereign villages.

The national election next year, as in the past, is all about money, money, and money and back door deals! Majority of the voters know for one that Mr. Politician
Ten Percent have been robbing them
from the billion-pesos worth of infrastructure projects, if not
the so-called donations for the social programs from pressure and interest groups. These voters, while they are principled ones, had known the presence of Government in times of need,during birth, baptism, wedding, and burial.

Don Raul Gonzalez leads the way in
helping these kind of voters, hundreds and thousands of them for the last six years of GMA's governance. In a way, as a traditional politician nurtured during his association with the foremost political tactician Mayor,Congressman, and Senator Rodolfo Ganzon.Who cares! He brings the bacon to the City. Regardless of the change in the presidency, the governing party, moreso in the House of Representtives would be more receptive to the needs of the Ilonggos, if the Congressman, and the City Mayor of Iloilo City, belong to the Party.

The line has been drawn for two party-candidates. However, the four major parties, Lakas-Kampi, Nacionalista, Liberal, and NPC will be fielding their own candidates for Mayor and Congressman in Iloilo City. In effect, Class A and B voters will be divided among them, with the C's voters, would be decisive, if not controlling with the outcome.

If this holds true, Raul Jr and Don Raul have the optimal chance to remain as the Congressman, and City Mayor, respectively, of the Noble City of Iloilo City.

Frank Magno

Paul said...

Very well said Frank, I wish you would write simpler next time, so people will understand better. I do not know Raul Gonzalez Sr, but I heard among the unfortunate that he is a kind man. I will try to find out more about him. However, Mayor Jerry Trenas is very popular because he is so political and fake. He has no moral values probably he would sell his own family just to stay in power. How could we expect him to serve the people of Iloilo city, when he is too greedy. Most of the citizens of the city of Iloilo have been mislead by this so-called charismatic man. He is nothing but phony and bogus. The truth will always prevail. One of my biggest mistake in this lifetime is voting for him as our Mayor. I will never vote for him again.

Anonymous said...

Jerry Trenas and Jed Mabilog are now fighting this early who has the final say in the making of the slate under the proposed merger of their groups after turning their political patron St Raul Gonzalez Sr.

In deciding who will be the vice-mayoral candidate, Jed Mabilog,made it early on to take
Baronda as his candidate.

While Jed consolidates his groups and networks in 185 barangays, Jerry was in communion with the Carmelite Sisters, for divine guidance whether to run as congressman and fight the son of his Political Patron.

Getting out from his retreat,he proclaimed, with his newly regained-shaved face, his candidacy.

Days after, while discussion is going-on, for the merger of their two independent camps and the selection of the candidate for vice-mayor, Jerry using his usual brand of political treachery,collaborated with Joe Espinosa, his brother-in-law, to declare ahead, his candidacy as vice-mayor together with the three other candidates for councilors, to run under Jerry's national party.

It's a simple maneuver, if not


Jed and Jerry have no confirmed political affiliations. As they secede from Lakas-Kampi, either they will make an offer to the stalwarts of NP-NPC,LP, and the various marginalized parties.

Both of them have no hundreds of millions for the May 2010 national elections. They will end up prostituting themselves from presidential and senatorial candidates.

They got it wrong in their calculations. They failed to consider that the ilonggo-visayan bloc from western-eastern visayas, and mindanao, will be spliced up among the Ilonggo presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

Manny Villar of NP-NPC(Iloilo City)
and his Vice, Loren Legarda(Antique); Mar Roxas (Capiz), as vice-president of Noynoy Aquino from the voter-rich regions of Luzon, and Teodoro (Lakas Kampi(with roots from Negros Occidental) of Lakas Kampi, with Edu Manzano (Concepcion,Iloilo) as his vice-presidential candidate.

St. Raul Gonzalez and his son-disciple will have the last laugh.

They have long calculated the possibilities of a split with these so-called new breed of politicians pretending as reformers.

The one million plus voters alone in Western Viasayas will be shared not in big difference with each other by the presidential timber of the three major parties.

They will pour more of their hundreds of millions of pesos and resources in Luzon.

Anonymous said...

The local politicians, Mayor Jerry and Vice-Mayor Jed are of the same kind of political butterflies that transferred from one political-flower party to a new one.

In their case, after sucking up the nectar from the pollens of Lakas Kampi for decades, they are now in the moneyed-garden of Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party with Bongbong Marcos as one of the senatorial candidate carrying the bags full of unresolved issues on human rights and ill-gotten wealth of the former president Ferdie Marcos.

Jerry who is generally perceived as stubborn and tainted with arrogance has the making of a new king that will represent the City with an iron fist!

It's too early to tell whether we gonna vote for this kind of guy.

We are looking for one with a fighting spirit to defend the party's faith over convenience.