Tuesday, March 13, 2018

‘Treñas boys’ cite ‘challenging experience’

ILOILO City – “Eye opener.” “A challenging experience.”

These were how some executive assistants identified with Cong. Jerry Treñas described their short-lived stint in the administration of Mayor Jose Espinosa III.

Six of the so-called “Treñas boys” at city hall tendered their “irrevocable” resignations yesterday, three days after Espinosa’s right-hand man told them they “could not serve two masters at the same time.”

The six were Fernando Jose Rico, Hector Alejano, Mitch Antiqueña, Melchor Tan, Maria Irene Ong, and Rudiver Jungco Sr.

“I would like to tender my irrevocable resignation effective today, March 12, 2018. Serving the Iloilo City Government has been an eye opener and a challenging experience for me,” wrote Ong, a legislative staff.

The content of Jungco’s resignation letter was similarly worded. He, too, served as a legislative staff.

The letters were addressed to Espinosa who, during a press conference yesterday, insisted he and Treñas remained on good terms despite the congressman’s intimation of a possible run for mayor next year.

The other day, Treñas said he was saddened that city hall officers loyal to both him and Espinosa were being made to choose which side to take – the mayor’s or his.

Last week, the congressman indicated he may reconsider an earlier declaration of quitting politics when his third and final term ends in 2019.

Despite this, Espinosa insisted yesterday that his relationship with Treñas was “cordial” and “okay man.

He, however, obliquely chided Treñas, his brother-in-law, for already discussing political plans for the 2019 elections.

“Politics will have its own time. Basta ako I will just be here serving. Layo pa ang politika. Ang politika ‘ya is one year and a half pa sa May 2019,” Espinosa told city hall reporters.

The mayor denied going after city hall officials identified with Treñas, contrary to the statement of Iloilo City Urban Poor Affairs Office chief Roy Firmeza, one of the so-called “Treñas boys.”

Firmeza described a meeting that Espinosa’s senior executive assistant Rommel Castro had with seven other executive assistants Friday last week as a “loyalty check.”

“Ako ‘ya nagapati nga now is not the time for politics,” said Espinosa.

He denied having rejected feelers from Treñas for a dialogue but in the process admitted they were yet to talk.

“The congressman has not called me. That is it…wala man messenger,” said Espinosa.

Treñas had said common well-meaning friends have been egging him and the mayor to talk things out.

The congressman himself endorsed Espinosa for mayor in December 2016 when he announced he would be quitting politics after completing his third and final term in 2019.

Espinosa was apparently surprised by Treñas’ most recent announced of a possible mayoralty run.

He confirmed that Castro’s meeting last week with the “Treñas boys” had his approval but stressed there were no explicit instructions to these city hall officers to tender their resignations.

Asked if he would accept their resignation letters should these officers submit them, Espinosa said, “We’ll cross the bridge when we get there.”

The resignation letter of Rico, executive assistant for barangay affairs, read: “May we come to realize that all of this will come to a better end for the good of our beloved City and the whole Ilonggo Community.”

Other “Treñas boys” expected to tender their irrevocable resignations are Abel Alejano (legislative staff), Firmeza, Benito Jimena (executive assistant for special events), and Katherine Tingson (financial consultant).

The other day, Firmeza said he had decided to resign Friday last week during the meeting that Espinosa’s senior executive assistant Castro called.

But to give time for a “proper turnover”, he said his resignation would be effective March 15./PN


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