“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — THERE have been bitter political rivalries in the past like the Trenas-Joe III rift that worsened and turned violent. Ilonggos were glad the outgoing congressman managed to shed only tears after his conquest of the sitting city mayor and no bloodshed attended one of Iloilo City’s most divisive and mucky political conflicts in recent memory.
In fact, one of the reasons why the political feud between former US vice president Aaron Burr and US founding father Alexander Hamilton ended in a duel that killed Hamilton in 1804, was vicious politics.
It was actually the irate Burr, running mate of 1796 presidential election candidate Thomas Jefferson, who challenged the brilliant Hamilton.
Hamilton, who campaigned for John Adams of the Federalist Party, had been exposed as the author of a “black propaganda” article that appeared in the Gazette against Jefferson of the Republican Party.
The article was written by Phocion, a pseudo name who turned out to be Hamilton, one of the era’s most respected and brilliant federalist leaders.
It exposed Jefferson as allegedly having an affair with one of his female slaves. Phocion also accused Jefferson of running away from British troops during the Revolution.
Not to be outwitted, Jefferson’s folks also had been using their own strong campaign tactics against Adams, who was accused of being overweight and given the nickname “His Rotundity.”
Adams had been called also as a “hermaphrodite”; Jefferson, on the other hand, had been accused of wanting to promote prostitution, incest and adultery.
Jefferson’s defeat to Adams didn’t sit well with Burr.
And the rest was history.
Iloilo City mayor-elect Geronimo “Jerry” Trenas pointed to “viciousness” apparently as the reason why he wasn’t yet ready to extend a hand of reconciliation to his rivals, Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and Dr. Pacita Gonzalez.
The tearful Trenas considered the May 13, 2019 elections to be “the most vicious” in all his past electoral combats.
The attacks against him, including his family, were allegedly “vicious and personal” capped by name-calling and insults.
One of his family members had been allegedly called as “agi” (homosexual).
In his rage, Trenas never mentioned Mayor Joe III and Dr. Gonzalez, his two closest rivals whom he routed by as much as 60,000 votes, but Trenas was obviously more resentful at his brother-in-law, Mayor Joe III.
Ilonggos knew how they and their supporters tore each other apart during the campaign period; how some family ties had been ruptured; and how much hurt and how deep was the animosity each side had to absorb and endure these past six weeks.
But nobody expected Trenas to eke out a big margin and to lead his Team Uswag in hammering out a swashbuckling sweep in the races for the city’s lone congressional district (won by former city councilor Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda), vice mayor (won by the incumbent Jeffrey Ganzon), including the majority seats in the city council.
Some Ilonggos are saying reconciliation may not be coming any day from now, but if both camps will allow the healing process to take its course, “time will definitely heal the wounds.”
After all they all come from one family.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)