Tag Archives: Iloilo City Council

Ilonggo solons not (yet) rubber stamps

“Enjoy your time in public service. It may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life.”
–Donald Rumsfeld

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Even members of the Iloilo City Council are getting annoyed and embarrassed that Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has become the most favorite punching bag of President Rodrigo Duterte each time the president unleashed his irascible wrath against some Liberal Party (LP) bigwigs.
So alarmed and disturbed were the city aldermen and women that they are now willing to help Mabilog collate the city government’s programs and/or accomplishments against illegal drugs and make a common stand.
They, too, must be hurting while seeing Mabilog reeling from absurd allegations that the city mayor, ranked No. 5 in the World Mayor two years ago, is a protector of merchants of prohibited substance.
Guided by an impermeable moral compass, the city councilors, led by Vice Mayor Jose III Espinosa, must have felt they could no longer afford to sit down and act like kibitzers while Mabilog was being pounded from pillar to post by a heavy bone-crusher.


We still have faith with our representatives from Western Visayas in the Philippines even if their independence was recently subjected into a microscopic sleuthing by some of impatient constituents who thought their unanimous yes votes for death penalty was a tell tale sign of their implied subservience to the Duterte administration.
As if their acid test was not enough, our congressmen and women will again be tested in at least two major issues that will soon be tackled in congress: the impeachment cases versus President Rodrigo Duterte (already filed) and Vice President Leni Robredo (still being floated).
If they reject both impeachment cases (granting that an impeachment case will be officially filed against Robredo), their constituents will never badger them. Life must go on.
Ilonggos are known to always decry any attempt to destabilize the incumbent administration. If any of the two–Duterte and Robredo–will be removed from office, a power vacuum can’t guarantee a sustained or immediate political and economic instability.


If government is on wobbly legs, life for Filipinos will not be normal.
Nobody would want to have this kind of environment especially if our priority is to provide our children with three square meals a day and send them to school.
If our solons will reject one impeachment and support another, their constituents will suspect that they are playing political favorites and are not taking their mandates seriously.
The Ilonggo constituents will be watching you, Reps. Sharon Garin (Ang Asosasyon Sang Manguguma Nga Bisaya-OWA Mangunguma Inc.); Atty. Jerry Trenas (Iloilo City); Richard Garin (Iloilo, 1st District); Arcadio Gorriceta (Iloilo, 2nd District); Atty. Arthur Defensor Jr. (Iloilo, 3rd District); Dr. Ferjenel Biron (Iloilo, 4th District); Raul Tupas (Iloilo, 5th District); and Maria Lucille Nava (Guimaras).


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Card reading system will eliminate overcharging

“When a company owns one precise thought in the consumer’s mind, it sets the context for everything and there should be no distinction between brand, product, service and experience.”
–Maurice Saatchi

17308760_10208546082432426_545010316886925874_nBy Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Back in May 1993 when the Panay Electric Company (PECO) was applying for a 25-year extension of franchise in the Iloilo City Council, among the demands of the committee on public services, environmental protection and committee on ecology, transportation, energy and public utilities from the power utility’s top echelons during the public hearings was to put up a meter reading system.
Among the central issues raised against PECO was the “astronomical” distribution and generations fees, and, of course, the “lack of proper meter reading system” that irked so many consumers, including then prominent businessman William Bayani, who filed a case against PECO.
For several weeks, PECO underwent intense grilling from Councilors German Gonzalez, Achilles Plagata, Rolando Dabao, Eduardo Laczi, and Perla Zulueta.
It was agreed that the meter reading system was necessary in order to provide the correct and accurate reading of the power consumed by the consumers and avoid overcharging.


The City Council approved PECO’s application for extension of franchise. Under the law, it must get Congress’ imprimatur after sailing through the local legislature.
Before PECO got endorsement from the City Council, it was bombarded with multitudes of complaints from various consumers groups in a series of public hearings.
A proposal to turn it into a people’s cooperative had been torpedoed.
After 24 years, Councilor Joshua Alim, through a formal resolution, asked PECO to establish a “meter reading card system.”
Alim wanted to avoid confusion and complaints over the consumers’ power consumption.
Alim wants PECO to post a meter reading card system to each consumer’s house where the monthly consumption is reflected and recorded.

The system will help consumers to easily appraise his monthly consumption, make a comparison, and even file the necessary complaint if there are discrepancies before the issuance of a billing receipt.
Alim’s ordinance has been referred to the city council’s committee on public utilities chaired by Councilor R Leonie Gerochi after hurdling the first reading, it was reported.
While the issue was being tackled in the City Council, PECO reportedly disclosed that it was actually trying to improve its metering system using the modern Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI).
“All readings are programmed to go directly to the computers of PECO without any actual meter readers needed on the field. This eliminates the human factor in meter reading and customers can fully rely on the accuracy of the billing,” said Mikel C. Afzelius, PECO’s corporate communications officer.
The first 1,000 “smart meters” will be installed this April 2017.
PECO is expected to again seek another extension of its franchise in 2017 and might again knock on the door of the City Council.


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Councilor Gerochi unfazed by criticism on ‘Bato’ resolution

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
— Winston Churchill


By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — I dropped a “thank you” note for Iloilo City Councilor R Leone “Boots” N. Gerochi through the Facebook messenger because that’s the only way I could get in touch with him.

I told him I admire him for being such a broad-minded public official.
This was after he “shared” my article on his Facebook wall entitled, “Iloilo dads should get their hands off ‘Bato’ case” on February 2.
In that article, I criticized the Iloilo City Council for its “unanimous” resolution urging embattled Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa “to stay put” (the exact words I used).
The article stated that the resolution, penned by Councilor Joshua Alim, “may be wise and symptomatic but not necessary, to say the least.” (READ:


As among those who “voted” for the resolution, Atty. Gerochi would have sneered at the article. The lest he would have done, if he were myopic-minded, was to ignore it. He didn’t.
By being sport and open-minded, he displayed a unique level of wisdom and understanding seldom seen among public officials today who are easily carried away by their emotions in a slightest media criticism.
Atty. Gerochi knew that the article was merely an opinion of a columnist or member of the Fourth Estate; and airing or expressing it in the free market of ideas like radio, TV, newspaper and blog falls within the ambit of freedom of the press and expression.
The city councilor knew that a public official is not supposed to bellyache and rant like a child if his acts are criticized or if the press chides him in relation to his functions and obligations in a public office.
Atty. Gerochi, son of well-respected criminal lawyer Romeo “Roming” Gerochi, our co-host in the original “Kape kag Isyu” cable TV program also aired “live” over RMN dyRI in 1996 together with Peter Jimenea, immediately caught my attention.
Here’s one public servant who understands and respects the job of a journalist; a public official who is perceptive and not onion-skinned; a city official who knows how to handle and value constructive criticism.


I started covering the Iloilo City Hall beat in 1989 during the turbulent reign of the late Mayor Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon until 1999, thus I am not familiar with Atty. Gerochi, who became city councilor in 2010 when I was already in Canada.
In the Philippines in 2014, I recall that the late former Iloilo Press Club president Teddy Sumaray once mentioned to me Atty. Gerochi’s name over a cup of coffee in the bakeshop of Iloilo City’s Atrium Mall.
“Alex, there is one city councilor, a new breed of politician who I really admire,” Mr. Sumaray volunteered. “He is the son of pare Roming and is also a lawyer. When I visited pare Roming in his office recently, this young lawyer was very polite and accommodating. I have not experienced the kind of politeness shown by any son of my friends in a very long time. He is a man to watch. Basi mag meyor ni sa pila ka adlaw (He could be a future mayor).”
We also trust that Atty. Gerochi’s colleagues, especially the senior members of the city council, won’t take the criticism of their job as public servants personally, and won’t consider the press as enemy but partner in nation building.

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Posted by on February 3, 2017 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!, POLITICS


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Iloilo dads should get their hands off ‘Bato’ case

“There are three major social issues that this country is struggling with: education, poverty, and drugs. Two of them we talk about, and one of them we don’t.”
— Steven Soderbergh


By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — The night before the Iloilo City Council in the Philippines unanimously passed a resolution in its regular session on January 30 “urging” Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa to stay put, President Rodrigo Duterte announced in a haste press conference in Manila that he had rejected Dela Rosa’s resignation.
Had Duterte let Bato go and announced it in the press conference on January 29, the Iloilo City councilors would have nothing to “urge” from the top cop in as far as his stint in the PNP was concerned.
Either proponents would revise the resolution from “urging Bato not to resign” or to “urging President Duterte to reinstate Bato.”
Or they would forget about the Bato resolution and remove it from the regular session’s agenda.


Was the Bato resolution, penned by Councilor Joshua Alim, necessary?
It may be wise and symptomatic but not necessary, to say the least.
As a national figure, Bato has been the subject of intense discussions in the House of Representatives with some solons calling for his resignation in the light of the kidnapping and murder of a Korean businessman perpetrated by policemen inside the Camp Crame.
Newspapers, news websites, TV networks have been tackling issues about Bato. Even during the Miss Universe Pageant, Bato was among the “top grossers” in the news and social media.
Bato’s fate is too broad for a local legislature like the Iloilo City Council.
Too many cooks will spoil the broth.
Instead of joining the fray in complicated national issues, the city council will look good and earn more pogi points if it will instead focus on local issues.


Like an “urgent” resolution commending government agencies, city and provincial officials, private individuals, participating schools, sponsors, choreographers, among other unsung heroes responsible for the successful staging of the just-concluded 2017 Dinagyang Festival.
There’s a myriad of socio-economic, health, business, education, political and environmental issues that affect the life of local populace.
More pressing issues like the success or failure of smoking ban on public places, malnutrition and housing programs in villages, the reported increase in number of AIDS, murder, and rape cases.
The Department of Tourism’s (DOT) efforts to push for chartered flights between Taiwan and the Iloilo International Airport in the town of Cabatuan, Paraw Regatta 2017 preparations, Iloilo City’s aim to become “City of Excellence”, real estate boom, investment and business expansion and opportunities, among other local issues.
Meanwhile, if there was one thing significant about the Gen. Bato Dela Rosa resolution, it was the city council’s avowed display of solidarity behind the Duterte administration’s “strong campaign against illegal drugs and criminalities.”


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Councilor Ganzon ‘usurps’ functions of mayor, cops

“To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”


By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY –– It’s the job of the police to warn gangsters and their leaders not to create mayhem in public. Or round them up.
They are paid to run after hooligans and other troublemakers in society.
To maintain peace and order, police are tasked to neutralize any group engaged in criminal and terroristic activities.
If peace and order worsens, the city mayor may order the police to safeguard the civilians and protect government properties.
Police are mandated to use force (but not excessively) if the situation warrants. Although they are also trained for physical confrontation, police may negotiate for peace to avert a spill over of violence and bloodshed.
Under the Local Government Code, the executive department, or the city mayor and provincial governor, with law enforcement at their disposal, wield awesome power.


In Iloilo City in the Philippines, a city councilor, “worried” by the increasing dangers posed by feuding gangsters in the metropolis, wanted to act both as city mayor and police.
As chair of the city council committee on police matters, Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon has asked Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) acting director, Senior Supt. Remus Zacharias Canieso, to provide him with police escorts as he planned to meet leaders of the 25 to 32 gangs operating in Iloilo City.
Ganzon wanted to personally “appeal” to the rowdy teenagers to stop creating trouble. He also wanted to talk to their parents. Nice.
In hindsight, Ganzon’s gesture deserves an accolade. He did not ask to be paid for the heroic act. What’s wrong if he wants to volunteer for the field work?
We were surprised though that nobody from among Ganzon’s colleagues reminded him during their regular session last January 9 that dealing with problems on street gangs was the job of Senior Supt. Canieso and his cops.


Members of the legislative branch gobble up their time in debates to hammer out quality resolutions and ordinances.
They aren’t elected to risk their lives marching on lairs of street ruffians and strike a deal with minions of the underworld.
Only in Iloilo City where a member of the local legislative body appointed himself as “peace emissary”, bypassing the executive office or city mayor.
He also “demoted” himself to act as foot patrol cop (with escorts to boot) for a tete-a-tete with bedraggled youngsters.
Because Ganzon reportedly plans to run for city mayor in 2019 (his supporters believe he will win if his opponent is his one-time tormentor, Vice Mayor Joe Espinosa III), Ilonggos should expect to see him perform more extra jobs that would boost his public image and unwittingly “usurp” the functions of police and city mayor “in aid of legislation.”

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Posted by on January 11, 2017 in ELECTION, POLITICS


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Ganzon, Malabor turncoats with questionable loyalty

“My whole thing is loyalty. Loyalty over royalty; word is bond.” Fetty Wap

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — We can’t blame some Liberal Party (LP) mainstays in Iloilo City if they are not comfortable with the presence of former city councilors Jeffrey Ganzon and Mandrie Malabor in the administration bandwagon.
The two balimbings (turncoats) are running for the city council in the 2016 polls under the LP ticket of reelectionists Rep. Jerry P. Trenas, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, and Vice Mayor Jose Espinosa III.
Strange bedfellows, indeed.
In the 2013 elections, Ganzon lost to Espinosa for vice mayor, while Malabor lost for councilor when they ran under the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
All the UNA local candidates from congressman, mayor, vice mayor and councilors were, in fact, massacred in an unprecedented 15-0 blitzkrieg.


One of the UNA casualties for councilor was Dr. Gold Gonzalez, daughter of the late Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr., who is now running for mayor against Mabilog.
Members of the opposition party shared one vision and mission and vowed to stay together and go down together against titanic odds.
But when Gonzalez and her team filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) in the Comelec last month, Ganzon and Malabor were no longer with the group.
They filed their COCs under the LP.
Like opportunists, they abandoned the opposition and embraced the administration to save their own necks.
They probably thought their chances of winning in 2016 were nil if they did not jump ship and join the “enemy.”


Were they demoralized after their 2013 defeat?
Are they desperate to win and have underestimated the capacity of the party they jettisoned?
What happened to the principles and cause they loudly espoused in the 2013 elections?
In 2013, their group accused the Mabilog and P-Noy administrations of graft and corruption and election fraud (owing to the 15-0 result in the local and national elections).
Some of them and their subalterns even filed a case against the mayor in the Ombudsman.
Can we blame Mabilog and other LP stalwarts if they will distrust these deserters and suspect them to be Trojans?
By joining Mabilog’s group, Ganzon and Malabor are expected to “behave” once they are back in power–or they will be ribbed as “ingrates.”

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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in ELECTION, POLITICS


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Let Nava and Gerochi fight; it’s part of democracy

“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.” Margaret Heffernan

By Alex P. Vidal

AS long as it is job-related, we have no problem watching flyweight contenders Plaridel Nava and R Leone Gerochi squaring off and transforming the session hall of the Iloilo Sangguniang Panlungsod into a boxing arena.

It’s a big relief though that both city councilors canceled the bout when proverbial coolers heads intervened.

Nava has clarified that his “one-on-one” dare to Gerochi was for a debate and not for a physical engagement.

Even if it was for a physical duel, for sure Nava and Gerochi, both lawyers, did not mean to swap blows because of personal enmity.

They disputed Gerochi’s request for a copy of Nava’s committee report on the recent 1st Muti-sectoral Transportation Summit.

Nava resented Gerochi’s actuation as they both belong in a bloc called “Voltes 5” which supposedly had a tacit agreement not to badger a member who is making a speech.

The bone of contention was still related to public service.

The paramount concern of our elected officials is public service.

Therefore, the would-be non-title setto was for exhibition only, an offshoot of a boiling blood and hot temper.

Wala personalan. Obra lang. (No personal feud. It’s all work-related.)

Quarreling or engaging in fisticuffs is not an earth-shaking scenario among members of the legislative body.


In fact, it’s a healthy sign in a democratic institution.

As long as it is not violent and not intended to terrorize people, rational argument should be a perfect venue to ventilate disagreement and grievances.

Even before the age of Youtube, social media and “selfie” technology, we have seen so many violent fracases “live” on TV involving senior state legislators in Taiwan, Turkey, Italy, Japan, Yugoslavia, Greece and other highly industrialized countries.

Fistfights among legislators in these countries would even last for three to five minutes and the melee even involved party mates who joined the fray from the balcony.

In democracy, every individual has the right to agree and disagree and translate the debate into a “one-on-one” brawl if necessary but not mandatory.

Sessions can sometimes be emotional and as tempers flare up, a free-for-all rumble becomes inevitable among the hot heads.

After the negative emotions have been emptied and energies zapped, the protagonists are soon back to normal lives; they shake hands, “bury the hatchet, and let bygones be bygones.”


In a fascist or communist state, there is nothing to dispute because there are no legislatures in the first place.

It’s a one-man rule.

In a fascist regime like that of Germany’s Adolf Hitler and Italy’s Benito Mussolini, there are no committee reports for the legislators as the latter don’t exist.

In communist rules, Russia’s Josef Stalin and Cuba’s Fidel Castro called the shots and shot the opposition dead. Democracy is dead, too.

Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Castro were the heads of their governments as dictators.

No national assembly.

No debate. No freedom to express. No free speech.

No democratic check and balance.


WE smell politics in the decision of Dumangas municipal councilors Jasmin Ocampo, Rene Dela Peña, Almar Marfito, Bert Celeste and Ronaldo Golez not to approve the resolution endorsing the issuance of a development permit to the National Housing Authority’s (NHA) resettlement project here for residents displaced by super typhoon “Yolanda” or Haiyan during their regular session on February 18.

The five are known political enemies of Mayor Rolando “Rolly” Distura, thus some people suspect politics was behind their lackadaisical attitude.

Distura said the NHA will be building over 7,000 housing units totaling around P2.1 billion.

But Golez, who lost to Distura for mayor in the recent local elections, insisted “they wanted more time to scrutinize” the housing project.

While they were dilly-dallying the resolution, some 1,000 irate housing project beneficiaries were getting restless outside the municipal hall.

The beneficiaries, mostly residents of identified danger zones in Dumangas areas frequently flooded such as river banks and low-laying areas, didn’t care about the political bickering among municipal officials.

They wanted a decent housing and safe environment. That’s all.

They didn’t want to be caught in the middle of the conflict between Distura and the opposition municipal councilors.

We hope warring Dumangas officials will set aside their animosity first for the good of the people.

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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!, POLITICS


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