ILOILO City Mayor Jose Espinosa III called for peaceful polls after a supporter of Cong. Jerry Treñas, his rival in the May 13, 2019 mayoral election, physically hit him and a barangay kagawad.
Terry Soliman slapped, wrestled, and pulled the hair of Barangay Kagawad Jiji Balgos and even hit Espinosa who was visiting the village Thursday.
Terry Soliman and her husband, Rizal Pala-Pala II Punong Barangay Noel Soliman, are known Treñas supporters.
“I asked for a little respect to my position as mayor if not for my person. The acts of your followers reflect the kind of leadership you are showing to them,” Espinosa said.
As the campaign nears its final days, Espinosa remains humble, soft-spoken, approachable and easy to talk to by the people, in contrast to his rival who is known for his outbursts.
Espinosa conducted house-to-house visits to personally know and address the needs of his constituents. Rizal Pala-Pala II is considered one of Treñas’ bailiwicks with the Solimans as die-hard supporters.
Soliman’s attacks came a day after Espinosa turned over 50 free tables to fish vendors at Iloilo Terminal Market or “Super” to combat the extortion rackets from rentals.
Espinosa said it was the vendors themselves who complained that Punong Barangay Soliman was asking for fees for the tables they used. The female Soliman hit back at Balgos whom she accused of exposing the irregularities at the public market.
The large-scale extortion could fetch hundreds of thousands of pesos in a month from the daily charges of P50 per table, P20 per light bulb and P15 per tablecloth.
The victims found the courage to bring their concerns to Espinosa when he visited the market to check on the vendors’ plight. Complainants also pointed to Rizal Pala-Pala I Punong Barangay Alain Rey Depatillo as the other brains of the alleged racket. Depatillo also denied the accusation.
The National Bureau of Investigation is now looking into the vendors complaints.