JERRY, ALBEE  CHEER UP LIZA: Mayors side with Marcoses vs Dutertes, calls for VP’s resignation from DepEd

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez and First Lady Marie Louise Araneta-Marcos

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez expressed solidarity with First Lady Marie Louise Araneta-Marcos amid her conflict with Vice President Sara Duterte, urging Duterte to resign as Department of Education (DepEd) secretary.

In their joint statement on Friday, they deemed it inappropriate for Duterte to partake in rallies held by her family, which have recently included attacks on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. from her father, former President Rodrigo Duterte, who accused Marcos Jr. of drug abuse using the term “bangag”—indicative of being affected by substance abuse.

“A Vice President aligning with the same party as the President should not engage in or find amusement in these attacks,” said Treñas and Benitez. “A certain level of solidarity is expected. There are unspoken rules and lines that should not be crossed.”

Treñas later clarified in a statement that he was indeed referring to Duterte, arguing that a cabinet member should wholly support the president or otherwise resign.

“If a cabinet secretary cannot give full and complete support to the President who appointed him or her, the best and only option available is to resign,” Treñas said in his own statement.

He added that as a cabinet member, the vice president was expected to give “full loyalty” to the president, and likewise criticized her attendance at her family’s rallies.

“Full loyalty to the president is a must for a cabinet secretary. Attendance at rallies where the president is maligned is against simple decorum. Resignation is the clear recourse in such cases,” Treñas conveyed to the press.

He also chided the younger Duterte, saying that there wasn’t anything significant being done in her current tenure as education chief.

“First of all, if you are appointed secretary you give your full loyalty to your president. You do not attend rallies where your president is attacked. Simple delicadeza dictates that you do not do that. If you cannot refrain from doing that the best option is to resign,” he told media.

Treñas also remarked on Duterte’s performance as Education Secretary, stating, “I regret that I cannot assess her contributions, as I haven’t perceived any notable action in the department. If others have examples, please share them.”

The Iloilo City mayor’s rapport with the First Lady has grown since Marcos Jr. took office in 2022, despite Treñas’s previous support for Marcos Jr.’s election adversary, former Vice President Leni Robredo.

Araneta-Marcos has also been a presence in the city, serving as a law instructor at West Visayas State University since August 2022.

Earlier speculations suggested by Senator Imelda Josefa Marcos of a first family member’s potential candidacy in Iloilo were dismissed by Treñas in March.

Tensions surfaced publicly with Araneta-Marcos’s interview earlier in the week, expressing hurt over the vice president’s reactions at the rallies.

“I was always kind to her. I feel betrayed. My husband has always been protective; we ran on the same ticket. Laughing at a rally where your president is disparaged is just wrong. Even Leni Robredo never behaved in such a manner,” the First Lady said broadcast personality Anthony Taberna.

Despite the strained dynamics, Vice President Duterte has consistently avowed her support for the president while maintaining her role in the Department of Education.