More on the Treñas-Baronda ‘split’

By Herbert Vego

THE word “split” is in quotation marks because I doubt its accuracy to describe the ballyhooed break-up of Iloilo’s power players, Mayor Jerry “JPT” Treñas and Rep. Julienne “Jamjam” Baronda.

On reading my column about it the other day, a friend asked me whether I had talked to Jamjam for confirmation.

“No,” I answered. “I have not met her for one year and three months already.”

But judging from the way the mayor revealed it in a press conference with City Hall beat reporters, it was Baronda’s wish not to run for re-election in 2025 so that his married daughter, Raisa Treñas-Chu, could run instead.

By then, a number of radio commentators had been interpreting the “Rise Iloilo” posters as a hint about Raisa’s rise in city politics.

In response, Baronda released a press statement, partly saying, “Giving in to political division and letting our beloved city’s future get derailed would be a grave mistake.”

The sentence resonates with a lament over the possibility of their “unity” crumbling. Thus, Jamjam yielding to Raisa does not presuppose a team split-up.  On the contrary, her change of heart could be a step to prevent a clash of clans.

It is no secret, however, that a Baronda dynasty is shaping up. Jam’s dad Urminico is now a city councilor while her mom Julie is a barangay captain.

A rumor raging like wildfire around the political circle is that a clash is inevitable, since it is most unlikely for the now well-connected Baronda to jam her own political advancement. What if Raisa’s attempt to take over her post would serve as her excuse to run against Mayor Treñas?

In that case, would she not look ungrateful to the man who had helped her win the House seat in 2019 and again in 2022?

On the other hand, critics could raise “dynastic greed” as an issue against dad Jerry and daughter Raisa running in tandem.

During a coffee talk with friends at Hotel del Rio the other day, I asked for their opinion. They were unanimous in their belief that Jamjam would challenge Mayor JPT with the financial help of “somebody up there”.

I begged to disagree because such a scenario could be prevented if and when the mayor decides to quit and anoint Baronda as his candidate for mayor.   Exchange deal, eh?

But if that were so, why did the mayor terminate the services of Jamjam’s younger sister, Julie Grace “Love” Baronda, as an executive assistant?

We have no final answer yet.  But, as in the movies, suspense sells.



THERE was a time when people would blame either MORE Power in Iloilo City or ILECO in the province whenever a brownout disrupts. They didn’t know that these utilities do not generate but merely distribute electricity.

Today, they know better.  More often than not, they blame the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) for power outages.  NGCP, take note, is the private corporation running the distribution of power emanating from the generation plants and relayed to the distribution utilities.

Because of this, the attempt of Congress to revise the Constitution by transforming themselves into a Constituent Assembly through “people’s initiative” should be opposed in a plebiscite.

Our wise congressmen say it would usher in economic reforms which would include 100-percent foreign ownership of public utilities even when hidden topmost in their agenda is to get rid of their term limits.

Right now, NGCP is 40% owned by the government of China.

Imagine if it turns 100%.  We would then be at the mercy of China, which threatens to dominate our resources along the West Philippine Sea.

Let us therefore oppose Cha-cha, which would need the support of 12% of all registered voters, and 3% of voters for each legislative district to materialize.