ILOILO City – Mayor Jose Espinosa III denied ordering city government department heads and other city government officials to campaign for him.
During a visit to city hall on Tuesday, Cong. Jerry Treñas, the mayor-elect, said he was giving these officials a chance to exit gracefully by resigning or he would be filing charges against them.
“The department heads waay ko gid ginhambalan nga magkampanya. They were just doing their jobs. Gin-detach ko gid na sila sa kampanyahanay,” Espinosa said.
Treñas defeated brother-in-law Espinosa in the polls.
According to Espinosa, regular/permanent city government employees have security of tenure under the civil service law.
“Just do your job and serve our people well,” he told them.
Espinosa reminded Treñas, “Elected officials come and go (but) ang aton da ‘ya empleyado nga under sa (civil service) sila na -ya ang ga-continue sang (government) services.”
The outgoing mayor then reiterated his earlier statement that he was open to reconciling with the mayor-elect.
The wives of Espinosa and Treñas were sisters.
“Open gid ako ‘ya. Sin-o gid kita? Ako ‘ya gapati kon nagaamiguhay tanan, mas magaayo ang aton syudad,” said Espinosa.
But Treñas indicated he was not ready to kiss and make up with Espinosa. He admitted being deeply hurt by the issues hurled against him, his wife and children during the campaign period.
“I have never been subjected to such venomous attacks in my political life,” said Treñas.
He called for an end to dirty politics and thanked the people of the city for supporting him.
Treñas had served as city mayor from 2001 to 2010 before becoming congressman from 2010 to 2019.
Espinosa said he never wanted trouble.
“Indi ko ‘ya katulog nga may nagalain buot sa akon,” he said.
There should be unity after the elections, stressed Espinosa.
“We should work together even if nagbinahinbahin kita. Sa mga barangay may sunggudanay…tanan lang. Let us join hands naman para mag-reconstruct sang syudad naton,” Espinosa said./PN