‘MEA CULPA’: Mayor apologizes for insensitive remarks

Iloilo Pride Team, an umbrella organization of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans-genders, queers and others, accepts Mayor Jerry Treñas apology for the “gay slur” he uttered on Monday, although they lament the continued bigotry and discrimination against their community. (DG file)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas admitted that he was insensitive in using the word sissy as he reacted to the slow legal battles in the protracted tug-of-war between MORE Electric and Power Corp (MORE Power) and Panay Electric Co (PECO).

The mayor called the courts “sissy” when asked by the media reporters for his opinion on the MORE Power-PECO tussle.

“They will have to decide one way or another.  I am already exasperated with some courts here. It’s about time that they make a decision one way or the other,” he told reporters on Monday.

The mayor said the courts’ perceived dilly-dallying on the matter is affecting the city.

“They have to take a side. Are they telling us to take the law into our hands?” he lamented.

His statements garnered mix reactions online where he was criticized by members of the LGBTQ for choosing inappropriate words.

Inagi? That means he hates gays? Why should he use the “inagi” term. Be sensitive enough,” one netizen said on Facebook.

On Tuesday, the mayor apologized for his gender insensitive remarks.

“In my passion to protect people’s interest against this power struggle that continues to affect Ilonggos, I have been insensitive in my choice of words that seemingly discriminated the LGBTQ. It was not my intention to offend members of the LGBTQ community,” he said in an official statement.

According to the mayor, he has been supportive of the LGBTQ community who are given due recognition and acceptance in the city.

“We have an LGBTQ Office in City Hall, and we have been highly supportive of their activities. For this, I express my utmost apology to the LGBTQ and to everyone who were slighted by my statement. Rest assured that I and the City Government always have the best interest of the LGBTQ community at heart,” he added.



Iloilo Pride Team, an umbrella organization of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers and others, accepted Treñas’ apology but not before criticizing the use of inagi to describe cowardice or vacillation.

“Worthy of note is the apology issued by the Mayor extended towards the LGBT community, one that is accepted with warm hearts.  This self-criticism issued by the mayor shows at least a sensitivity that is evident of a move to make Iloilo a safe space for all,” the group said in a statement.

Still, the group is saddened that being gay is equated to indecisiveness or cowardice.

“The recent statement of Mayor Jerry Treñas on the allegedly cowardice of the courts in implementing the decision involving More Power and PECO using the word ‘inagi’ speaks of the common perception that wavering, vacillation or non-action is similar to being gay. This is a manifestation of the long history of patriarchy not only of Philippine society but in Philippine politics as well.”

Iloilo Pride Team said being gay cannot be equated with cowardice or indecisiveness.

“For the longest time being gay is cowardice when in fact it is the bravest thing one can do for oneself.  Coming out as gay in a country fraught with discrimination, bullying, gender-based violence and stigma is an act of courage.  ‘Inagi’ is now about standing up for equality and not a sign of cowardice.”

Meanwhile, a report by Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo cited Regional Trial Court Branch 35 Judge Daniel Antonio Gerardo S. Amular as saying that he is only following legal procedure in tackling MORE Power’s expropriation case against PECO.

MORE filed the case to take over PECO assets such as distribution poles and susbtations.

A previous judge already granted MORE’s motion for a writ of possession but fell short of issuing the same after she inhibited from the case.

The case was then re-raffled to Judge Amular’s sala who later suspended the hearings in deference to the petition for review filed by MORE with the Supreme Court against the ruling of an RTC branch in Mandaluyong City nullifying portions of MORE’s congressional franchise.

The Supreme Court has issued a temporary restraining order against the Mandaluyong RTC decision while it deliberates on MORE’s petition.

Amular said he decided to suspend the hearings until the SC decides on MORE’s petition with finality. He added that he cannot pre-empt the SC’s decision by ruling on the expropriation case.