By Alex P. Vidal
“A healthy democracy requires a decent society; it requires that we are honorable, generous, tolerant and respectful.”—Charles W. Pickering
WE’RE beginning to suspect the apparent feud between Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas and AAMBIS-OWA partylist Rep. Sharon Garin was a result of: 1)Miscommunication; 2)Emotional Outburst; and 3)Politics.
Let’s examine them.
- MISCOMMUNICATION. Treñas accused the lady solon from the Municipality of Guimbal, Iloilo of blocking House Bill No. 10464, which seeks to establish the Uswag Iloilo City Hospital (UICH).
Garin denied the accusation, saying she had only mentioned to bill proponent, Iloilo City lone district Rep. Julienne ”Jamjam” Baronda, to remove the “Uswag” word in the proposed city hospital.
She supported the bill, according to her, as reported in The Daily Guardian.
Garin may have found the word “Uswag” in the proposed bill distasteful as it connotes politicking; the word, incidentally, is officially registered as a partylist in the May 9, 2022 election and is openly being endorsed by Treñas, whose daughter is reportedly one of the nominees.
If she was telling the truth about the positive vote she had supposedly cast for the bill, Garin had a valid point.
Garin couldn’t be responsible for the reported delay of the bill’s passage in the Lower House, according to her, because “I’m just one vote. A bill needs the majority of the quorum. One vote is not enough to oppose and not let the bill get approved.”
Was Treñas misinformed about Garin “blocking” the bill?
- EMOTIONAL OUTBURST. It was Treñas who fired the first volley and used harsh words such as “deputa” (an expletive) to describe how exasperated he was when the bill wasn’t approved for the third reading “because of the opposition of a Congresswoman from a Party List coming from Iloilo Province. I hope it will finally be approved on the third and final reading tomorrow since it will benefit the people of the City of Iloilo. It is just very sad though,” the city mayor bewailed in a Facebook post, as reported.
A male adult and a local chief executive of a premier metropolis to boot wouldn’t blow his top like his manhood was put into a severe test if he wasn’t terribly infuriated.
He could have just muttered: “I hope Congresswoman Garin would not stand in the way of the proposed bill because the city hospital means a lot for all of us city residents, etcetera.”
Let us read between the lines in the city mayor’s umbrage at the lady lawmaker in a radio interview, as reported: “It’s like she wants to die for that. She doesn’t want ‘Uswag’. That’s okay. Let’s not care if she wants to die on that. But what does Congresswoman (Sharon) Garin care about what we do here in the city? Why does she not want us to build a hospital? This is for the poor. If she wants to, let her make her own hospital. We won’t object to that (expletive).”
Was Treñas, as benefactor of the partylist “Uswag”, so incensed because the word is so special and important and needed to be retained in the proposed city hospital so it could help, in one way or the other, the partylist in name recall?
- POLITICS. Whichever side we look at the furor, all indications point to politics, plain and simple.
The proposed city hospital isn’t totally dead; its passage in the Lower House appeared to have been stalled only. With due diligence from Rep. Baronda, it could still muster enough support from other members of the Lower House and may still be passed when Congress resumes and tackles the matter.
Stalled means it was only delayed. If Rep Baronda, and, perhaps, Rep. Garin and other proponents will exert extraordinary efforts to work around the clock for the passage of the bill, it can be passed into law if proponents in the Upper House (Senate) are ready to adopt it, barring unforeseen circumstances, for the president’s signature.
There’s no need, actually, for saber-rattling and exchange of hurting words between the contending parties, or between Treñas and Garin.
Unless Treñas really wants to expedite the passage of the proposed bill before the May 9, 2022 election and insists on retaining the word “Uswag” in aid of his partylist.
As for Garin, we still can’t see any veiled malice or sinister intention for her to lock horns with Trenas, Baronda and the residence of Iloilo City who will stand to benefit if the proposed bill becomes a law.
Too premature to call it “crab mentality.”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)