Threats against Iloilo politicians

By Alex P. Vidal

“As long as anger, paranoia and misinformation drive our political debate, there are unhinged souls among us who will feel justified in turning to violent remedies for imagined threats.”— David Horsey

ACCORDING to the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) as reported in the Iloilo media, the following five Iloilo public officials “received threats to their lives”: Iloilo 4th District Representative Ferjenel “Ferj” Biron, Dumangas Mayor Braeden John “BJ” Biron, Barotac Nuveo Mayor Bryant Paul “BP” Biron, Dumangas Vice Mayor Ronaldo “Onal” Golez, and Dueñas Mayor Robert Martin Pama.

The report came after PNP chief, General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. had ordered all Philippine National Police offices in the country to conduct “threat assessments” on all elected and appointed public officials in the Philippines following the massacre in Pamplona, Negros Oriental on March 4 that killed nine people, including Governor Roel Degamo.

There were no immediate complete details about the threats on the five politicians.

Were the threats as alarming as the threats received by Degamo and other Negros Oriental politicians weeks and months before the massacre?

Were the threats politically motivated or business-related?

Were they based on police blotter reports or Intelligence?

Were the CPP/NPA, e-sabong operators, drug syndicates involved in the threats?

Because of the alleged threats, is there a need for the PNP or the Philippine Army, as a precautionary measure, to also deploy elite forces in Iloilo to neutralize the troublemakers or raid houses for possible loose high-powered firearms?


Did the PNP monitor the presence of armed goons or private army that are capable of sowing terror against Iloilo politicians?

In the case of Degamo, the supposed threats were politically motivated because they came from one dreaded political family, as claimed by the widow of the slain governor, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo.

If the threats against the Iloilo politicians were politically motivated, who the hell are interested to harm them?

These are some of the nagging questions that the IPPO must clarify.

On the lighter side, it’s possible that some of these threats against the Iloilo politicians weren’t really serious and could only be like, “I will run against you in the next election”; “I will file a case against you in the Ombudsman”; “I will withdraw my support”; “I will resign from your political party,” etcetera.

Seriously, any threat against any politician or ordinary citizen shouldn’t be taken lightly. The civilian populace can only rely on the police authorities for protection.

Iloilo was reportedly peaceful during the last elections with no recorded serious political violence.


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ILOILO YIELDS TO LAGUNA. According to a report by US Master and chess journalist Marlon Bernardino, Iloilo chessers ran out of luck in the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) online chess tournament third season as they lost to Laguna.

“Grandmaster Rogelio “Banjo” Barcenilla Jr. and International Master Daniel Quizon powered the Laguna Dasmariñas to a 13-8 victory over Iloilo Kisela Knights of the 3rd season, first conference of Professional Chess Association of the Philippines online chess tournament virtually held at platform Wednesday night, March 22, 2023,” reported Bernadrino.

Barcenilla, many-time Battle of the GMs champion, defeated Mark Jossel Mariano in 57 moves of Petroff defense on Board 1 while Quizon, the reigning AQ Prime ASEAN champion, checkmated Lloyd Lanciola in 39 moves of Neo Gruendfeld defense on Board 2.

“It was a topsy turvy game but he blundered on his 42nd move with Qe8 and on the 46th move I already have twin passers on the center. It is from there that I knew the game is in the bag,” said Barcenilla, a former two-time Asian Junior Champion.

The win helped Laguna Dasmariñas improve their win-loss record to 18-1 in the Northern division. It is worth mentioning that they have the same output as San Juan Predators.

“Iloilo is a strong team. We were just lucky for beating them tonight. Certainly, it was a close match indeed,” said Arena Grandmaster Dr. Fred Paez, one of the owners of the Laguna Dasmariñas team franchise.

Also delivering for the Laguna Dasmariñas backed up by Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga Jr. are Woman Fide Master Shania Mae Mendoza, International Master Angelo Young and Arena Grandmaster Kimuel Aaron Lorenzo.

Mendoza toppled Fiona Geeweneth Guirhem on  Board 3, Young trounced National Master Cesar Mariano on Board 4 and Lorenzo subdued National Master Rolly Parondo Jr. on Board 7.

Horizon Villanueva and National Master Fritz Bryan Porras carried the good fight for Iloilo woodpushers in the rapid encounter.

Villanueva nipped International Master Michael Concio Jr. on Board 5 while Porras crushed Fide Master Dino Ballecer on Board 6.

Here are some feats that Laguna has accomplished, bested Iloilo, 10-4, in their rapid earlier. Notwithstanding their earlier setback with the same team (Iloilo), 4-3, on the blitz portion of their match. Lastly, they subdued Davao Eagles with a close score of 11-10.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)