‘Persona non grata’ epithet spares Baronda, Lujan 

By Alex P. Vidal

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” —Ernest Benn

OF all those who have “seriously” crossed the path of Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas in recent memory, only Iloilo City lone district Rep. Julienne “Jamjam” Baronda and Iloilo historian Nereo Lujan escaped the ax of being declared as persona non grata (an unacceptable or unwelcome person) by the city council in the behest of the bellicose city dad.

Either Treñas himself didn’t seek from his allies in the local legislative body for this type of “punishment” for Baronda and Lujan, or the city aldermen—even if egged on—wouldn’t and couldn’t pull the trigger for the intrepid lady and gentleman.

Or the city mayor never thought about swinging the sledgehammer himself through an executive fiat as he wont to do in the past for obvious reasons.

He shouldn’t. He cannot. Treñas’ issues with Baronda are purely political. Nothing more, nothing less. The lady isn’t a tramp.

His beef with Lujan is about a miscue in the disembowelment of a heritage, which is imbued with strong public interest. Lujan is a capitol official, but not a sicko politician.


If the intention is to repulse Baronda in the 2025 midterm election and crush Lujan in the Office of the Ombudsman, there’s no need for Treñas to summon the army, or his allies in the ordinance-making body over vapid and insipid issues.

Diocletian looked weaker and vulnerable when he collaborated with a peasant’s son Maximilian, herdsman Galerius, and nobleman Constantius I Chlorus to keep Rome as the official capital.

Diocletian became effective only when he dedicated himself to restoring civil order to the empire by removing the army from politics.

Aside from his awesome power as city hall big boss, Treñas’ much-vaunted influence and affinity with the city councilors aren’t hidden in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

So far, what the city mayor wanted from this co-equal branch in government, he got it with gusto and aplomb. “Tell me who your friends are…”

Treñas, however, single-handedly declared Bacolod City Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran as persona non grata over the issue involving the “uncoordinated transfer” of the Badjaos from Bacolod to Iloilo City on June 22, 2023.


It would have been utterly egregious and scandalous of epic proportions if Treñas dragged the Iloilo City Council into his spat with the presiding officer of the Iloilo city councilors’ counterparts.

Through a forceful executive order, Treñas had also declared Cooperative Development Authority-Region 6 (CDA-6) director Nora P. Patron “persona non grata” or unwelcome in the city in September 2023 for “ignoring the pleas of the Iloilo City Government and the members of the Iloilo City Government Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (IGEMPC), which have the effect of protecting the anomalous and patently illegal acts of the erring directors and officers of the IGEMPC.”

And finally in June 2024, it was Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Iloilo City officer-in-charge, Engineer Roy Pacanan’s turn to be declared as persona non grata, this time with full-court press backing from the ever-obliging city councilors.

Tetchy vlogger Jam Magno was nearly lumped in the list of persona non grata infamies after bashing Iloilo City beauty queen Rabia Mateo in 2021.

There’s no doubt Treñas is the most powerful man in Iloilo City today, feared and respected by his party mates in the city council. With his leadership and well-oiled machinery, he could sweep his clan members into power before retiring from politics.

But he could also end up as Theodosius, the last emperor to rule the Roman Empire, who was never the same again after being excommunicated by Saint Ambrose even after successfully bringing to power his sons Arcadius, ruler of eastern empire, and Honorius, ruler of western empire, if he keeps on committing one blunder after another.


LET’S BEWARE. Are you a regular Airbnb client? If yes, kindly read this latest scandal unearthed by CNN. An investigation by this giant media company has found that Airbnb, one of the world’s largest short-term rental companies, consistently fails to protect its guests despite knowing that hidden cameras are a persistent concern within its industry.

Thousands of images have been recovered from rental hosts by law enforcement. Hidden cameras placed in bedrooms and bathrooms show guests during their most private moments — changing clothes, being with their children, even having sex — according to CNN’s review of court and police records as well as interviews with guests who found surveillance devices in rental properties or were told by police they had been secretly recorded.

In a statement to CNN, an Airbnb spokesperson said hidden camera complaints are rare, but when they do occur “we take appropriate, swift action, which can include removing hosts and listings that violate the policy.”

(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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