ILOILO City – To whom should the winners in the recent barangay election take their oath of office – Mayor Jose Espinosa III or Cong. Jerry Treñas?
It’s a tricky balancing act for both the reelected and newly elected, noting that Espinosa and Treñas could be running against each other for mayor in next year’s election.
Take the case of reelected barangay captain Roland Montelibano of Tabucan, Mandurriao district and his councilmen. While they took their oath of office before Espinosa on May 17, they plan to have another swearing in before Treñas.
But why Espinosa first?
“Kay sia ang city mayor eh,” Montelibano said, adding that their oath-taking also doubled as a courtesy call to the city’s chief executive.
Montelibano revealed they also received an invitation from Treñas to take their oath of office before the congressman and would likely do so.
The barangay council of Tabucan is supportive of both Espinosa and Treñas, he stressed.
Meanwhile, Lawrence Lorenzo, president of the Association of Barangay Councils of Arevalo, said barangays in the district received invitations for oath-taking both from Treñas and Espinosa.
Lorenzo said reelected and newly-elected barangay captains and councilmen of Arevalo took their oath of office before Treñas on May 17, three days after the election.
Another oath-taking before Espinosa is possible, according to Lorenzo.
“We did that with then mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog in previous elections,” he said. “Sa amon ya wala man sang pulitika nga issue.”
Treñas has offered Espinosa to be his running mate for congressman. The mayor, however, has refused to respond.
Treñas endorsed Espinosa for mayor in December 2016 but in February this year bared he was entertaining the idea of running for mayor with Espinosa as his candidate for congressman.
“We will talk about politics when it is time for politics,” said Espinosa.
Three associations of barangay councils – in Jaro, Molo and Mandurriao – recently issued manifestos expressing support for Treñas’ bid for mayor and calling on Espinosa to instead run for congressman.
According to Atty. Ferdinand Panes, director of the Department of Interior and Local Government – Iloilo City, an elected barangay official can take an oath of office before anyone authorized by law to administer it.
According to Treñas’ office, some 150 barangay captains and barangay councilmen already took their oath of office before the congressman.
Meanwhile, Espinosa’s senior executive assistant Rommel “Jojo” Castro said “many” also took their oath of office before the city mayor.
There are 180 barangay captains and 1,260 barangay councilmen in Iloilo City.
Last week, Treñas took potshots at Espinosa’s “Pag-ulikid Sang Syudad” – a weekly outreach program that brings city government services to the barangays.
“They should not do it once a week or twice a week only. Seguro dapat adlaw-adlaw,” said Treñas.
The congressman found it ironic that the city government would hold “Pag-ulikid” (Hiligaynon for “care”) on weekends when on weekdays it would be busy with “pangkakas (take down), pang-ipit (oppress) and pangkugâ (strangle).”
Treñas did not elaborate but he could be referring to the removal of city government job hires identified with him.
“Ang ila ginaobra Lunes asta Biernes pangkakas kag pang-ipit kag pangkuga. Pag abot Sabado, pag-ulikid,” said Treñas./PN