ILOILO City – “Definitely, mapadalagan kita,” Mayor Jose Espinosa III told reporters at city hall.
But as to which elective post he would seek in next year’s midterm election, he won’t say.
Pressed by reporters if his options were either to run for mayor or for congressman, Espinosa further gave a playful answer.
“Mas nami gid guro presidente kay amo nâ ang pinakamataas. Kun pari ka, imo gina-aim mag-arsobispo ka o mag-papa. Kon suldado ka, gusto mo gid mag-general or chief of staff,” said Espinosa, formerly this city’s vice mayor.
Having become city mayor only by operation of law (his predecessor Jed Patrick Mabilog was dismissed from government service by the Office of the Ombudsman for unexplained wealth in October last year), nothing legally prevents Espinosa from running either for mayor or congressman.
In December 2016 when he was still vice mayor, Espinosa was endorsed by his brother-in-law and political ally Cong. Jerry Treñas for mayor.
Last month, however, Treñas – now on his third and last term as congressman – said he may run for mayor.
Espinosa refused to squarely address the issue and simply said he and Treñas remained on good terms.
“The city faces so many concerns. I want to focus on them. Politics has its own time,” said Espinosa.
Come election season, Espinosa said he would “let the people decide.”
A conflict was reportedly brewing between the congressman and the mayor over the former’s possible run for mayor next year.
Espinosa, however, denied he had a falling out with Treñas. They were still a team, he said, and even described their relationship as “very nice, cordial and one big happy family.”
The wives of Treñas and Espinosa are sisters.
In all the elections they joined, both Espinosa and Treñas belonged to the same ticket and supported one another./PN