‘Perya’ in guise of a candidates’ forum

I HAD A glimpse of last Saturday’s candidates’ forum at the University of the Philippines Visayas gym where three aspiring mayoralty bets, Cong. Jerry Treñas, incumbent mayor Joe Espinosa III and Mrs. Pacita Gonzalez, the wife of the late Justice secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr., came to face a big crowd comprising mostly of students from the said university and nearby colleges as well.

Residents from various barangays in Iloilo City were there too not only as spectators but to give moral support to their bets.  The ambience was festive, but once in a while cat calling was inevitable. One moment silence was deafening, the other moment the crowd became rowdy and loud.

At the start of the forum, the three candidates were given ample time to introduce themselves and their platforms if given the opportunity to win in the forthcoming elections. Amusingly, each candidate had a color motif judging from their attires. Mayor Joe was in blue; Madam Gonzalez was in red, while Congressman Jerry, surprising, had the combination of the two colors.

Everything went smoothly, at least momentarily.

The hullabaloos started when lone female candidate, Madam Pacita Gonzalez threw a full load hypothetical accusation against her bitter rival Cong. Jerry Treñas on which the latter took as an offensive attack on his credibility. For Jerry, it was also a violent attack on his person. Naturally he had to defend himself.

Several times, Jerry called the attention of the moderator to take appropriate action as his female rival appeared to be high, already on the loose, aiming all her high-powered ammunitions intended only to him and ignored her other rival whom she believed perhaps was just a weaker link. Suffice to say he was a nuisance among them and not worthy of her attention.

Congressman Treñas made a fair warning to the forum organizers to have control of the situation as the lady in red continued her theatrical attack against him at the contentment of the audience howling in approval. For awhile, the forum turned into a perya (carnival) with Madam Pacita’s alleged “hakot” that on cue would either howl in approval or in protest to the satisfaction of their lady benefactor.

Jerry failed to hide his disappointment that he almost felt like walking out from the forum when his female rival released ballistic accusations making him appear as if he was the king of crooks.

Obviously, Madam Gonzalez was there intently to embarrass the congressman from the Lone District of Iloilo City and not necessarily to have a healthy and friendly debate engagement.

I have a very strong feeling; Gonzalez has no intention to win the forthcoming elections. She is more obsessed to malign a former ally whom they trusted from head to foot. Jerry was just like a son to the Gonzalez couple; they nurtured him politically until they parted ways as fate made them so.

The rabid political attack done in front of a mammoth crowd at the UPV auditorium last Saturday was an ultimate battleground for Madam Gonzalez, believing it as a big opportunity to unmask her opponent solely on Congressman Treñas.

On the other hand, a gentleman that he was, Jerry controlled his emotion and refused to engage a “below-the-belt” manner. Let the lady in red shred her own self in the bar of public opinion.

Jerry actually felt like a big man. He could have swallowed whole the lady in red had he wanted to.  But he opted to remain humble all throughout the forum, though once in awhile he made a hint he was about to explode. But to his advantage Cong. Jerry Treñas left the forum with his dignity intact. ([email protected]/PN)

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