Tag Archives: Rep. Jerry P. Trenas

Iloilo leaders ready to secure embattled P-Noy

“Life is not a solo act. It’s a huge collaboration, and we all need to assemble around us the people who care about us and support us in times of strife.” Tim Gunn

By Alex P. Vidal

ILOILO appears to be the safest haven for the country’s highest official during political upheavals in a nationwide scale.

Ilonggo leaders have always been quick and firm in making a political stand.

They are aware that President Simeon Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III draws strength from them.

President Aquino is aware, too, that the Ilonggo leaders are willing to sink and swim with him.

After all, he feeds them well.

Ditto for the police and the military.

If he can’t stand the political and military heats in Metro Manila, President Aquino can transfer the Malacanang Palace in Iloilo where almost all the local leaders here don’t want him to step down amid rumors of coup d’etat.

Mr. Aquino will be safe in Iloilo as long as Gov. Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr., Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry P. Treñas, among other local chief executives and representatives are in power.

While other political leaders in the country have been mum over the simmering calls from various sectors for the president to relinquish his post in the heels of the “Mamasapano 44” debacle these past weeks, Iloilo leaders have rejected calls for Aquino’s resignation.

Negros Occidental leaders also joined those who want the president to finish his term until 2016.


It’s the people and the leaders in the entire Western Visayas who are willing to shield the president from those agitating for his resignation.

The Ilonggos also sneered at the call to impeach Mr. Aquino if he won’t step down.

They fear political destabilization and economic meltdown once the president has been removed or forced to resign.

Back in July 2005, Senate President Franklin Drilon asked then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to relocate the seat of power in Iloilo while the president’s enemies were ganging up on her for the “Hello Garci” fiasco.

Drilon, however, turned his back from Mrs. Arroyo several days later and joined those who wanted her to yield the presidency to then Vice President Noli De Castro.

Drilon wanted to be the next vice president via the rule of succession.

There are no signs that Mr. Aquino’s Iloilo allies will abandon ship and surrender him on a silver platter to the enemies.

They are four square behind the president.

“The Moro rebels are Filipinos, too. They are under our laws so they should also be held accountable for any violations of our criminal law,” Defensor announced recently.

“Let the Board of Inquiry investigate the incident. Let the Senate and the House (of Representatives) investigate it, better under a joint investigating committee. Let’s all wait for the result. The peace process should not prevent the government from seeking justice for the 44 killed SAF members.”


Treñas also tagged as a “call for grab power” the move to compel the president to resign and to be held accountable in the tragic massacre of the 44 elite cops.

The congressman said: “What happened in Mamasapano is one of the darkest chapters of our history. But what’s even more lamentable is the fact that some people cannot simply resist the urge to use the misfortunes of our nation for their own selfish agenda. This call for President Aquino’s resignation is a nothing but a call for power grab.”

Mr. Aquino can sleep tight while under the watchful eyes of his Western Visayas allies.

The 34-member Visayan bloc led by Treñas and Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez have already issued a manifesto of support for the president come hell or high water.

For these Visayan allies, the accountability and criminal liability should only fall on those who planned and implemented the operation against Marwan, a terrorist killed during the January 25 raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

The manifesto read: “We…commiserate and empathize with the families of the 44 members of the SAF who died during the said Mamasapano operation. We demand accountability for those who planned and implemented the debacle and the imposition of criminal liability for those responsible for the massacre.


“Change in administration should be the farthest solution to what happened in Maguindano and should not be our response to our currently hurting nation….The Mamasapano incident should create unity and strong front among us Filipinos instead of discord.”

They stressed that “The nation and our colleagues in the Philippine Congress to focus on the investigations and call for swift and thorough deliberations on what happened in the Mamasapano operation.

“The probe should immediately identify those who should be accountable for what happened, ensure that perpetrators of the massacre suffer the full force of our penal laws, and develop remedies that would prevent another incident from happening in the future to the men in uniform who are only fulfilling their vows to promote peace and order in the country.”

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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Interesting ‘conflicts’ in City Hall

“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” Ronald Reagan

By Alex P. Vidal

WHEN we covered the City Hall beat during the administrations of the late former Mayor Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon (1988-1991), former Mayor Mansueto “Mansing” Malabor (1991-2001), and now Iloilo City Rep. Jerry P. Trenas (2001-2010), the clashes happened usually between members of the legislative and executive branches.
Ganzon sprayed with water the seven recalcitrant members of the City Council using the hose of a fire truck at the Freedom Grandstand.
The maverick Ganzon, a former senator, was at loggerheads with most members of the local legislature that his administration was marred by legal skirmishes and interrupted by preventive suspension orders.
He even went as far as padlocking the office of Councilor Lorenzo “Larry” Ong.
City hall could not find peace as long as Ganzon was at the helm and the seven city councilors: Trenas, Ong, Edgar Gil, Rolando Dabao, German Gonzales, Eduardo Penaredondo, Cirilo Ganzon refused to assume sycophantic roles.
Malabor and his minions in the executive office were constantly under the watchful radar of former Councilor Perla Zulueta, who is now Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog’s executive assistant for finance.


Each time firebrand Zulueta lambasted the executive office in privilege speeches and media interviews, Malabor’s blood pressure skyrocketed.
His legal chief, Atty. Mary Milagros Hechanova, always had plenty of paper works to review to save the king.
The clashes normally occurred in the name of check and balance.
It was always a healthy sign for democracy when the Mayor’s Office and the City Council were at each other’s throats and not singing a chorus when it comes to policing their ranks.
The City Council under the Trenas administration was not as adversarial compared to the previous administrations, but Trenas also had his own share of goose bumps from feisty councilors who refused subservient functions.
Today, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog’s relationship with the City Council appears to be sweeter than real life sweethearts.
The honeymoon is expected to extend until probably their terms will expire; and the bacchanalia, so far, has not been interrupted despite veiled differences in the choices for presidential candidates in 2016.
While everything has been going on smoothly between Mabilog and the City Council, civil wars occur from time to time within Mabilog’s inner circle, involving his key factotums.


City legal chief Jose Junio Jacela got out of the kitchen when he could not anymore stand the heat after his appointment was rejected by the City Council.
The City Council rejection was not the one that wounded him most: it’s the Brutuses and Cassiuses who kept on planting thumb tacks in his back.
Until now no one can tell if Jacela and former Vice Mayor Victor Facultad, also Mabilog’s consultant, can still see each other eyeball to eyeball.
Spokesman Jeffrey Celiz’s wings had been clipped at the time when he was making mincemeat of Mabilog’s detractors.
In frontal combats vis-à-vis the mayor’s critics, no one can match Celiz.
Intrepid, brilliant and consistent, Celiz can single-handedly neutralize if not clobber all of Mabilog’s deadly detractors in debates and other verbal shootouts.
Why we haven’t heard of Celiz for awhile only the mayor knows.
Most recently it was Zulueta and City Legal Chief Daniel Dinopol who figured in a heated exchange of words in media.
So far, no heavy bombs have been unloaded. Only powder puffs and brickbats.
If the apparent cold war between Mabilog’s two top lieutenants won’t be settled soon, it has the potential to escalate into ugly proportions.

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Posted by on December 3, 2014 in POLITICS


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Yes to water, no to MIWD

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” W. H. Auden

By Alex P. Vidal

Water and the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) are supposed to be like Siamese twins: inseparable.

Without MIWD there is no water. Without water there is no MIWD. At least that’s how most Ilonggo concessionaires think in as far as the water system in Iloilo is concerned for almost 50 years now.

MIWD produces potable water in the households, offices and farms. Consumers pay for the water supply. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. They maintain this type of symbiotic relationship.

Just like Panay Electric Company (PECO) and electricity, services are smooth and uninterrupted if consumers don’t renege on the payment of their monthly bills. There is no public uproar and restlessness if there are no frequent power outages and atrocious hidden fees. Simple logic.       

But public perception for MIWD has changed critically. Irate consumers have grown tired of its inefficiency and lackadaisical services that MIWD is not anymore indispensable in their eyes.


Consumers have realized that there would still be life, after all, even without MIWD. They are not anymore afraid to kick MIWD in the butt and tell MIWD straight in the face to get lost!

When the faucets stopped producing water last June 14 and 15 because MIWD failed to settle the partial payment of its debt worth P2.7 million to its bulk water supplier, Flo Water Resources Iloilo, Inc., the patience of consumers reached the tipping point. Enough is enough.

Picking up the cudgels for the distraught consumers, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Trenas and Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who are water consumers themselves, uncorked the heaviest verbal barrage never uttered before by high-ranking local leaders in recent memory.

Trenas, a many-time referee of MIWD internal squabbles, has called for the privatization of the water utility firm. He feared the worst for the consumers if MIWD’s management was not privatized. He has no more love lost for MIWD owing probably to his love for his constituents and, perhaps, to his love for Dr. Rogelio Florete, Jr., his business associate and owner of Flo Water Resources Iloilo, Inc.


Trenas wanted MIWD to adapt to the paradigm shift of water management in the modern world. There is no room for inefficiency, sloppiness and ineptitude in a privatized MIWD, Trenas thought.

Mabilog, on the other hand, wanted to dissolve the MIWD. He wants water consumers in the city to look for their own water distribution system and not to anymore rely on the decrepit MIWD.

He has given up on MIWD’s series of demagoguery. Both city leaders fear MIWD’s lousy services will delay Iloilo City’s march to progress and development. Investors would never risk a long-term investment in a city that can’t quench the thirst of its residents even during rainy season.

The hostile reactions of both Trenas and Mabilog were enough proof that Iloilo City is willing to let go of MIWD after years of mutual co-existence and relationship. Somebody has to pack up and leave. A divorce is inevitable.

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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


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No probe, no justice for substandard traffic lights

“Money and corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, and we’re tired of hearing promises that we know they’ll never keep.” Ray Davies

By Alex P. Vidal

Until now, corrupt officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) were never investigated by the Office of the Ombudsman for the installation of suspected substandard traffic lights in Iloilo City during the term of the late former mayor Rodolfo T. Ganzon.

When traffic was starting to become a hassle to pedestrians and was giving inconvenience to the public some 24 years ago, authorities put up traffic lights in the metropolis’ main intersections reportedly for a whooping budget of P10 million.

They looked impressive in the first five months. On the sixth month and thereafter, most of the units were no longer operational. They became junks. Efforts to repair or replace them proved futile, and the useless hanging hard wares became eye sores and sources of public outrage and displeasure.

To show their disgust and disappointment, naughty characters vandalized some of the units during night time.


When we asked Ganzon about the issue in the Kapehan sa Budyong on IBC-12, a morning TV program hosted by Leo Dumagat at the Igmaan Hall in Hotel del Rio, the mayor blamed the DPWH when procurement of heavy equipment, among other infra projects and supplies, was not yet devolved to the local government.

When Mayor Mansueto “Mansing” Malabor took over city hall in the 90s, he was bedeviled by the same issue; but like his predecessor, Malabor, a lawyer, also pointed an accusing finger to the DPWH and invoked the local government code saying as a local chief executive, he has nothing to do whatsoever with the project.

During a trip in Cebu city sometime in 1991, we met then DPWH-6 director Ernesto Silvela in Lapu-Lapu City, where he resided, and asked him about the controversial traffic lights.   

He denied that the units were substandard as alleged by many pedestrians, but vowed to investigate the matter. He, too, had noticed that many traffic lights were not anymore functioning. Were they substandard? Silvela refused to comment.

“As long as I am the regional director (of the DPWH in Western Visayas), I will never allow any anomaly to take place under my administration,” Silvela said in Cebuano.


Nothing was heard of about the issue ever since Silvela was assigned in Mindanao. Several DPWH contractors and employees reportedly petitioned for his ouster for being “too strict and too perfectionist.” Silvela fought shady characters in his office with tongs and hammer. But just the same, he was transferred (not ousted).
When Rep. Jerry Trenas became mayor after Malabor, the issue on traffic lights remained mothballed. Traffic control was done manually by
civilian traffic aides, whose job orders were created during the time of Ganzon. The city hall job hires managed and controlled traffic system in the busiest intersections. No more traffic lights.
It appears the issue was already forgotten and no investigation was ever conducted on the alleged substandard traffic lights.
In January this year, city hall announced the installation of 16 additional traffic light junctions in different areas of the city “in a move to help solve the burgeoning pedestrian and traffic problems in the metropolis.”


With the help of a private corporation, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog started the traffic lights project in October 2013 with four installations along corner Ledesma-Mabini street, Infante and Gen. Luna and at the City Proper area.
Mabilog vowed to install four more traffic lights along Jalandoni-Delgado, in front of the University of San Agustin, corner Delgado-Valeria streets and at Huervana, La Paz district, which was completed early in 2014.
City hall said the budget for the project came from the P15 million funds diverted from the “not-so-feasible” fountain project at Plaza Libertad.
More traffic lights would be installed along the widened Diversion Road going to the international airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo to be supervised by the DPWH, it was reported.

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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Mayor reports for work on bicycle; 1st Iloilo bikefest

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n (1)

I HAVE covered the Vancouver city hall beat, among other offices and cities in the British Columbia for a Filipino community newspaper, Philippine Asian News Today, where I briefly served as editor.
It was in this world’s most livable city where I saw Mayor Gregor Robertson report for work on a bicycle. He went to city hall riding on a two-wheel bike like an ordinary cyclist without any bodyguard.
After parking his bicycle, he changed cloths right there in the parking area from jersey to office attire before proceeding to the mayor’s office on 453 West 12th Avenue. Only tourists could not recognize that the cyclist changing cloths in the parking space was the chief executive of the City of Vancouver.
Because he loves cycling, his proposal to create more cycling lanes in the streets snowballed. It was not hard for Robertson to get the support of the Vancouver city council which had voted unanimously to spend Canadian $25 million to create and improve bike lanes throughout the city, re-writing the city’s map on how people get around.


The money would be spent building about 55 kilometers of new bike lanes and construction is on-going. It was expected to also enhance and improve connections from south Vancouver to the Canada Line Bridge.
Other notable changes expected in the project included extending separated bike lanes along Burrard Street and the Dunsmuir Viaduct, a pedestrian cycling greenway along Helmcken Street and an east-west bike route along 45th Avenue.
On March 10, 2010, we witnessed the smiling Robertson, an avid cyclist, open the Dunsmuir Viaduct bike lane. People in Vancouver have high regards for cyclists, who are treated with utmost respect in the roads because of the mayor’s influence and advocacy for this mode of transportation.
The last time I was with Robertson was when we watched the 2010 World Cup finals between Spain and The Netherlands on Dunsmuir. I sat beside him on the pavement together with hundreds of soccer fans. “Where’s your bike, mayor?” I asked him while he was about to leave after the Spaniards bundled out the Dutchmen, 2-0. “I parked it at city hall,” he retorted with a smile.


I recalled the biking event last April 1, 2014 when I witnessed the 1st Iloilo Bike Festival with routes passing the Lizares Mansion, Casa Mariquit, Jaro plaza, cathedral and belfry, Sanson-Montinola house, Nelly Garden, Museo Iloilo, the old provincial capitol and Arroyo Fountain, Calle Real, Fort San Pedro, Plaza Libertad, City Hall, San Jose Church and Sto. Rosario heritage houses, Customs House, Molo Church and Iloilo River Esplanade.
More than a hundred cycling enthusiasts joined the fun ride and helped promote the “Share the Road” movement.
Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who joined the cyclists, led the ceremonial countdown together with Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas and other city councilors and city hall officials.
“All of us are concerned in making our respective communities a better place to live in,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said in a speech and called the activity as timely amid the growing concern about the environment.
We’ve noticed that bike lanes were being built in some highways in the city especially in the Diversion Road. Mabilog, incidentally, is a friend of an Ilonggo cycling association that spearheaded the bike fest. Are we seeing Iloilo City as the next Vancouver when it comes to recognizing the rights of cycling enthusiasts to have separate bike lanes in major roads?

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Posted by on April 27, 2014 in Uncategorized


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