Baronda ‘relaxes’ as Treñas paddles canoe into two rivers

By Alex P. Vidal

“People like to say that the conflict is between good and evil. The real conflict is between truth and lies.”—Don Miguel Ruiz

THESE past weeks, Iloilo City lone district Rep. Julienne “Jamjam” Baronda could afford to relax and heave a sigh of relief—at least temporarily— as the burning arrows uncorked by flamethrowers of Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas intended for her had been shifted to Iloilo historian and Capitol executive Nereo Lujan.

How long the flaming darts will spare the lady solon depends on the intensity of the swapping of the brickbats in the social and mainstream media between Treñas (most especially the city mayor’s flamethrowers) and Lujan.

The hot darts or arrows could ricochet and pummel both Baronda and Lujan in quick succession. But they were marshaled solely with a radar precision against Lujan immediately after the former newsman filed administrative cases against the mercurial city mayor in the Office of the Ombudsman for destroying the 80-year-old art deco façade of the metropolis’ Iloilo Central Market.

In deploying his warships and dragon boats into two battlefronts, Treñas’ hands have been undoubtedly (over)loaded.

Ideally, it doesn’t bode well for a politician fighting for political survival and the survival of family members he passionately dragged into politics.

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Against the durable and defiant Baronda, Treñas is engaged in a bloody war. Against the insightful and stouthearted Lujan, Treñas is locked in a fierce battle.

A battle is a single engagement, while a war is a prolonged period of conflict. The effects in both clashes are debilitating and agonizing.

The city mayor’s schism—the war— with a former protégé Baronda is considered the most complicated and dangerous because it could sweep away not only him but also his daughter, Raissa Treñas-Chu or “Raissa Treñas” if luck didn’t favor the dynastic clan in the 2025 midterm election. This is the scariest and most disturbing moment.

His conflict—the battle—with the determined Lujan could be over in months or even a year or two.

Unless he has a political ambition, Lujan has nothing to lose in standing toe-to-toe against a political Goliath. (He has nothing to gain either, because he himself is facing a cyber libel rap filed by the city mayor.)

Both the war with Baronda and the battle with Lujan ostensibly have the making of “Pyrrhic victory.” But what if it would result in “Pyrrhic defeat”, which is more likely to occur in the case with Lujan since it involves a destruction of heritage and not about politics?

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In a political wrangling, public opinion matters. Machinery and political parties can help a lot, but they alone can’t ensure a quick or easy election victory.

Once a candidate’s reputation or credibility nosedives or has been severely tarnished, he may be able to roll past the odds with big lifts from the machinery and political parties, but he could incur heavy losses like the king of Epirus, who looked like a loser even after repulsing the Romans at Asculum in Apulia in 279 B.C.E.

Political analysts and social scientists were one in saying that in deciding to paddle his canoe into two rivers against two difficult foes in a pre-election period, Treñas made a calculated risk.

If Treñas’ squabble against Baronda was inevitable probably because of his desire to include a daughter in the taxpayers’ payroll for the next three years and even beyond, his strife against the unorthodox Lujan was not only unnecessary and a waste of time and money, but also unwise and fogeyish, to say the least.

When one wants to cross the long, deep and unpredictable river, he shouldn’t anger the crocodiles.

And if the river is silent, don’t be a fool to think and falsely convince yourself the crocodiles don’t exist.

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HEALTH ALERT. How to prevent sexually transmitted diseases? Our sexual network includes all our partners, as well as all of their partners–current and past. The more sexual connections there are in our sexual network, the greater our chances of coming into contact with an STI, including HIV.

Let’s practice abstinence or monogamy. The most absolute way to protect ourselves is to abstain from sex. Abstinence is difficult but as possible option for many people, especially the young. Let’s think about it seriously.

If we are unable to practice abstinence and monogamy, let’s practice safe sex. Let’s avoid contact with blood, semen and vaginal secretions of an infected person. Kissing, rubbing, stroking and hugging are all safer sex practices that won’t expose us to HIV infection.

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

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