Nanay Julie’s pain

By Alex P. Vidal

“Ladies and gentlemen, my mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you!”— George M. Cohan

IF Iloilo City lone district Rep. Julienne “Jamjam” Baronda can’t secure a third and final term and bows out from the congressional race to pave the way for “Tito Jerry’s” (this is how Rep. Jamjam calls Iloilo City mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas in private) daughter, Raisa Maria Lourdes or Raisa, the person who will get hurt most is Dr. Julie Baronda or “Dok Julie”, Rep. Jamjam’s mother.

Second is Councilor Urminico Baronda, Rep. Jamjam’s dad, and the rest of the fabled Baronda clan. All in the family.

Rep. Jamjam is the clan’s political gem. At 45, she’s “too young” to exit from politics (granting she will no longer seek a public office after a terse “adieu” meeting with “Tito Jerry” on March 16 where she “respected” the city mayor’s decision to field his daughter for congress in the next election).

She’s “too valuable” and “too nifty” to be elbowed away and stopped in her tracks while her appetite for legislation is at fever pitch.

Moving out or taking a forced hiatus in the field the Barondas have learned to love most is a bitter pill to swallow particularly for Nanay Julie, who foresees her daughter becoming the next city mayor after “completing” her term third as congresswoman.

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For Nanay Julie, this isn’t acceptable. The sudden change of event where daughter Jamjam is in danger of being sideswiped for a third and final term, is like a political death from a thousand cuts, so to speak.

The “interruption” will create a huge vacuum in the majestic buildup for daughter Jamjam’s next political career.

City hall is near and yet so far?

Simply put, a Baronda City Hall takeover beyond “Tito Jerry’s” term as city mayor may have been embedded in the clan’s radar what with the star-studded cast are all active in public service—Dr. Julie as punong barangay of Brgy. Javellana Extension in Jaro; Dr. Urminico as incumbent city councilor; and Love Baronda as erstwhile City Hall executive assistant.

Who wouldn’t—especially if the opportunity and possibility of hitting a political pay dirt in one fell swoop present themselves?

A “student of political science” as he himself has admitted, Treñas may have read the political handwritings on the wall.

With his clan members (including wife, Rosalie, and former city councilor Jay, and recently Raisa) also very much active and “willing, able, enthusiastic” to form a beeline to secure and retain the bailiwick, Treñas may have thought it was time he moved quickly and swiftly and to cut and cut clean.

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If one has to slay a dragon, he must start by first chopping off the dragon’s head.

Eliminating Rep. Jamjam this early with the “support of 100 percent of the barangay captains” (180 barangays all) will underline Treñas smashing dominance of metro politics and solidify his reputation as undisputed kingmaker.

But wait a minute. Isn’t it premature to write off Rep. Jamjam and the rest of the fighting Baronda clan for that matter?  Politics, after all, is like a loaded dice and so unpredictable. Is being ditched by “Tito Jerry” constitute the final nail in the political coffin?

What if Rep. Jamjam changes her mind and decides to slug it out versus Raisa (Mrs. Raisa Maria Lourdes Treñas-Chu) in the next congressional election?

There’s a saying that only fools don’t change their minds. Ditto in politics.

The next phases in Iloilo City’s political developments will certainly take the Ilonggo voters in the edges of their seats.

For the meantime, Nanay Julie’s pain is real. So does with other mothers who think they are never really alone in their thoughts. That Nanay Julie has to think twice—one for herself and one for daughter, Rep. Jamjam.

Janet Fitch once said this about her daughter: “If it weren’t for me, she wouldn’t have to take jobs like this. She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar. I felt my guilt like a brand…. I had seen girls clamor for new clothes and complain about what their mothers made for dinner. I was always mortified. Didn’t they know they were tying their mothers to the ground? Weren’t chains ashamed of their prisoners?”

(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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