A hard nut to crack  

By Alex P. Vidal 

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” ― Ernest Benn

THOSE who are staying active in public service—like the incumbents—usually are the ones that survive the toilsome political game.

Thus, even if in the eleventh hour the feuding mag bilas (brother-in-laws), Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas and former mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III will decide to “let bygones be bygones” and regroup for the sake of the Treñas family’s political survival (many Ilonggos are saying this has become far-fetched as the two politicians continued to be “not on speaking terms” after their bitter political clash in 2019), it may still be uphill and knackering—based on the developing trends in the metropolis’ political landscape.

If the reports were true that incumbent Iloilo City Rep. Julienne “Jamjam” Baronda has been “on upswing” these past months and leaving both her former political endorser and benefactor Treñas and daughter Raisa or Mrs. Chu to eat the dust in surveys, it’s really a red flag that mustn’t be taken for granted.


Especially if it’s less than four months before the official filing of the certificates of candidacy (COC) for the 2025 midterm elections where the Comelec has ruled there would be no more substitutions.

If nothing has changed dramatically in as far as the prospective candidate’s electability is concerned, what’s the major alternative plan?

Planning is political. It mobilizes a particular body of knowledge to address public concerns. The knowledge embodied in professional practice becomes political at the moment in which it is actively used to define and address the public good.

Everything but the kitchen sink has been thrown at the lady solon these past months, or since Treñas announced their breakup early this year in that startling press conference, but Baronda’s still standing and running berserk in surveys.

Treñas must be in quandary. Will he release neophyte Raisa in the wilderness and risk watching the helpless daughter being eaten alive, or decide to deal with the feral in the jungle—and also risk being swallowed whole himself, which would be a double embarrassment?


It’s not easy to dismiss Baronda, who has been very active and relentless in her grassroots activities and relationships with the hoi polloi, mostly loyal and unyielding mothers and members of youth organizations who have been supporting her as a city councilor and (defeated) vice mayoral candidate from way back even before being elected as congresswoman.

In Hiligaynon parlance, “may pondo” (she has a base).

And also—whether they like it or not—“may charisma” (she has the charisma). And Baronda was never implicated in graft and corruption; we mean, no graft case has ever-been filed against her as a solon.

In other words, Baronda is a hard nut to crack.

The lingering question now is, in his effort to get rid of his former political protégé Baronda, did Treñas diagnose the situation incorrectly and apply a wrong remedy?


OUR MORAL LIFE. Our whole happiness and even sanity depend on our moral condition.

Since society doesn’t exist all by itself in a void, but is made up of individuals who compose it, the problems of society cannot ultimately be solved except in terms of our moral life. If the citizens are sane, the society will be sane.

If we are wild animals, our society will be a jungle.


WE ALL NEED MONEY. Thus, it is foolish to despise money. We all work for money. We all want all we honestly earn.

Money means advantages for ourselves and those we love. Of course, there are higher aims in life than money, but to attain those aims we need first to settle the money question intelligently.

We ought to earn our money honestly, to save it carefully, to spend it prudently, and to invest the surplus wisely so as to insure ourselves against sickness and loss.

If we get the money question straight in our minds it will do much toward realizing our happiness and success.

Money is not everything, but money is something very important, according to thehindu in an article “Money is important, but how much do you need?”

Beyond the basic needs, money helps us achieve our life’s goals and supports—the things we care about most deeply—family, education, health care, charity, adventure and fun.

It helps us get some of life’s intangibles—freedom or independence, the opportunity to make the most of our skills and talents, the ability to choose our own course in life, financial security. With money, much good can be done and much unnecessary suffering avoided or eliminated.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)