“Youth has no age.”
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — I am one of those who expressed “sadness” when I heard from the grapevine recently that if the “rift” between Iloilo City Rep. Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas and Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III is not settled amicably, two of the most dynamic and young leaders of Iloilo City will be heading for a clash in the city’s lone congressional district in the May 14, 2019 Philippine elections.
“This is disheartening,” bemoaned a prominent member of the Iloilo City Trade Mission, who refused to be named “because both the young leaders are dear to me and I don’t want to preempt any ongoing political negotiations (among Iloilo City’s political leaders).”
She was referring to former Iloilo City councilors, Dr. Nielex “Lex” Tupas and Julienne “Jamjam” Baronda.
Both are good friends and maintain cordial relationships off and on the political arena.
They also have lots of common supporters and admirers who consider them as Iloilo City’s Foghorn Leghorn and Chicken Hawk or Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, brimming with charisma and intelligence.
The grapevine added that if Treñas and Joe III won’t smoke the proverbial peace pipe soon, “Tupas might run for congressman under mayoral bet Treñas and Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, while Baronda might run for congressman under Mayor Joe III and possibly, Councilor R Leone Gerochi, for vice mayor.”
If Baronda decides to pave the way for “graduating” Councilor Joshua Alim, the grapevine said it would be a battle between “three lawyers against a doctor, a lawyer, and a pastor.”
The three lawyers are Alim, Joe III, Gerochi while the doctor is Tupas, the lawyer is Treñas, and the pastor is Ganzon.
Alim’s possible inclusion in the Team Joe III will depend though on the results of “negotiations” and whether the powerhouse Gonzalez faction (composed of Dr. Pacita Trinidad-Gonzalez, Dr. Marigold “Gold” Gonzalez, and former Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr.) will intermingle with the Team Joe III.
One of the Gonzalezes’ favorite incumbent city officials, Councilor Plaridel Nava, is already “in” and was part of the Iloilo City Trade Mission here.
Nava, the only city councilor in the entourage, confirmed he won’t be seeking a higher elective office when his term expires in 2019.
Meanwhile, a Baronda versus Tupas clash for the city’s lone congressional district would be a real blockbuster, predicted a City Hall bigwig who was also in the trade mission.
“While Lex Tupas is extremely popular among the hoi polloi, Jamjam Baronda is also a darling of the young voters in the barangay,” the City Hall bigwig explained.
The City Hall bigwig, however, said “money will play a major factor between two extremely strong candidates for congressman.”
The City Hall bigwig said although Baronda, daughter of retired city health officer Dr. Nick Baronda and former city councilor, Dr. Julie Baronda, has been away from politics for quite a while after a May 2010 debacle when she lost to Joe III for vice mayor, “she has successfully linked with some influential incumbent senators in Metro Manila and other well-oiled patrons in Mindanao.”
Baronda’s “loyal” youth brigades are still intact in the metropolis’ 180 barangays and have been “maintained” by her younger sister, Councilor Julie Grace “Love-Love” Baronda, the City Hall bigwig stressed.
Tupas, on the other hand, has been in the limelight when he became executive director of the National Youth Commission (NYC) from November 11, 2015 until May 5, 2017.
Tupas’ base in the grassroots is also solid and “growing” after being buttressed by his wife, Dr. Candice Alumisin-Tupas, who replaced him in the city council.
We expect all the comets and meteors to scoot and realign if Jamjam Baronda and Lex Tupas, both untarnished and very qualified, will collide.
Members of young and intelligent electorate, which comprise the “thinking” voters in 2019, will definitely have a hard time to choose between two pristine and promising national figures.
It’s like being made to choose between Joan of Arc and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, both legends and highly regarded in their own right.