Three councilors bid farewell; Team ‘Uswag’ still a no show

WACKY MOMENT (from left) Joshua Alim, Plaridel Nava, Candice Magdalane Tupas, Leizl Zulueta-Salazar, Eduardo Peñaredondo, Lyndon Acap, Mandrei Malabor, and Ely Estante Jr. (not in photo) were the only Iloilo City councilors present during the last session of the 8th Sangguniang Panlungsod on June 14, 2019. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THREE outgoing councilors – Plaridel Nava, Joshua Alim, and Liezl Joy Zulueta-Salazar – delivered their farewell speeches in the last session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod on June 14, 2019.

Except for Councilor Ely Estante Jr., other Team “Uswag” members – Councilors Love Baronda, Jay Treñas, Irene Ong, Leila Luntao and Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon – were again absent in the session.

This was the first time that the council was incomplete during their last session for the current SP.

In their speeches, Salazar, Alim and Nava thanked their colleagues, staff, media, and everyone who helped them as city councilors.

“I appreciate the 74,000 Ilonggos who believed in me. I can still help them in my private capacity. This is not the end. I will return,” Alim said.

Nava also thanked his fellow colleagues in the city council and even recognized those he had arguments with such as councilors Eduardo Peñaredondo, R Leone Gerochi, and Candice Magdalane Tupas.

“Councilor Ed Peñaredondo. I could not forget those moments when I was so down, he was always there. A lot of people did not notice, he has been helping me a lot. When I decided to quit politics, the first person who helped me was Councilor Ed. Councilor Tupas, I apologize if I may have said something that might have offended you. With all the things I ventilated to you, it was nothing personal,” he said.

Nava shared that although he might never return in politics, he assured that he will continue the fight for the Ilonggos and push through his advocacies even without the public office.

“The advocacies that we have, our stand against Panay Electric Company (PECO), fight against illegal drugs, all our advocacies will continue even without power and public office. Rest assured that we will not surrender and yield. We will not leave Iloilo City to make sure that Iloilo City will have the voices to be heard even outside the voice of the city council,” he said.

Nava also posed a challenged to the re-elected councilors Lyndon Acap, Mandrei Malabor, Tupas, and Peñaredondo, emphasizing that they should be the opposition in the council

“To the four councilors who are re-elected, we have high expectations of you. Don’t be rubber-stamp councilors, please stand for the people of Iloilo City. Let your voices be heard for them. Dako ang pagsalig namon sa inyo nga sa pagbaya namon sa inyo, may ara sang nga magapadayon sang independence sang sini nga konseho. We have high hopes on you. Do not fail us,” he said.

Nava also has a message to “Uswag” councilors led by Mayor-elect Jerry Treñas who were absent from the session since April 26, 2019.

“To all the councilors who aren’t here, I was able to learn the difference between friendship, traitors, honesty, and sincerity. We may not have faced each other after elections, we may not have seen eye to eye but at least I have learned my lessons well,” Nava said.

Meanwhile, Peñaredondo also expressed dismay over the continued absence of some councilors.

“For me it does not matter because kami magkilit-anay pa kami ya but to think about the situation, that your long time companions in the city council will not see each other in this very, I call sentimental, parting of ways among the council, it touches my emotion that they she should be here. Nami tani nag-attend sila para makabati man kita sang ila sincere statements about parting ways,” he said.

According to Peñaredondo, politics is just temporary and he emphasized that differences between parties only apply during elections.

At the end of the day, he said that they should still consider each other as friends and associates.

“Sometimes we disagree and there are moments that we hate each other but past is past. Politics is just temporary. Me, I still consider them as friends and associates although we have some disagreements, I still consider them as associates and friends because we worked together for a long time,” he emphasized.

Peñaredondo also reacted to Nava’s challenge.

“I will not go into that. I have been consistent in my stand ever since I become a councilor that whoever is the Mayor, I will help in whatever that I can. Of course, if there are undertakings that I do not like I would manifest that I do not like it and not vote for it but if it’s good for the city, I will always support for that and will exert efforts to achieve whatever target the mayor or the administration would try to have,” he said.

Nava, Alim, Zulueta, and Councilor R Leon Gerochi will step down from their respective positions come June 30, 2019.

Eight newly-elected councilors belong to Treñas’s groups.

Incumbent councilors Lady Julie Grace Baronda, Jay Treñas III, Estante and incoming councilors Rudolph Ganzon, Rommel Duron, Allan Zaldivar, and Carlos Javellana will assume their posts on June 30.

Acap, Tupas, Malabor, and Peñaredondo were the only partymates of Mayor Jose Espinosa III who made it to the magic 12.