Iloilo City

Iloilo mayor admits fear influenced his role in De Lima persecution

Ambo Delilan

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Iloilo mayor admits fear influenced his role in De Lima persecution

ILOILO CITY CHIEF. File photo shows Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas during an emergency Zoom meeting led by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr, with Department of Energy, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and Power distributor utilities and Cooperatives on continuing power outage in Western Visayas, on January 4, 2024.

Arnold Almacen/Iloilo City Mayor

'I did not agree to the same but could not go against the administration at that time,' says Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas

BACOLOD, Philippines – Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, who was among the congressmen who pushed for investigating former senator Leila de Lima over the drug trade ties accusations against her during the Duterte administration, admitted he stayed silent about her persecution out of fear of repercussions.

“I did not agree to the same but could not go against the administration at that time,” Treñas told reporters on Wednesday, June 26.

Treñas said this two days after de Lima was cleared of all drug charges filed against her during the presidency of her nemesis Rodrigo Duterte. The Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 206 cleared her of the last charge of conspiracy to commit drug trading. A regional court in Quezon City also cleared her of two disobedience cases.

“The acquittal of Senator Leila de Lima is a clear manifestation that the courts of justice are working in the Philippines,” said Treñas, then the representative of Iloilo City.

He asked Ilonggos not to look at him. But Treñas was among the members of the House committee on justice, along with then-speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who filed House Resolution No. 105 in 2016, which started a House panel investigation into allegations that de Lima had a hand in the proliferation of drug syndicates at the New Bilibid Prison.

The hearings turned into a televised public spectacle, with the male-dominated committee focusing on de Lima’s personal life, her relationship with her former aide Ronnie Dayan, and an alleged sex video that was never proven to involve the ex-senator.

Treñas claimed that he never participated in the hearings of the House committee on justice and, supposedly, he was against what was done to the former senator.

The committee then was led by the late Oriental Mindoro 2nd District representative Reynaldo Umali, the same congressman who subsequently filed the now dismissed disobedience cases against de Lima. Umali passed away in 2021 from liver cancer.

“I am so glad that Senator de Lima has finally been acquitted. I know what Senator de Lima went through. Worse, she was in jail for a very long time,” he said.

The Iloilo mayor also encouraged de Lima to seek justice, saying, “She has every right to go after those who filed the cases against her.”

Aside from Treñas and Umali, the other congressmen who were led by Alvarez in filing the House resolution against de Lima were the following:

  • Rudy Fariñas of Ilocos Norte
  • Raneo Abu of Batangas
  • Michael John Duavit of Rizal
  • Romeo Acop of Antipolo
  • Karlo Nograles of Davao City
  • Abraham Tolentino of Cavite
  • Paulino Salvador Leachon of Oriental Mindoro’s 1st District
  • Eric Martinez of Valenzuela
  • Danilo Suarez of Quezon province

De Lima had called the House committee investigation a farce, but Umali countered in a press release published at www.congress.gov.ph: “I would like to disabuse the mind of my sis (de Lima) that this is a sham hearing and this is a kangaroo committee. What we need to establish are the facts needed to enable Congress to effectively perform its mandate.”

‘Better late than never’

San Carlos City, Negros Occidental Bishop Gerardo Alminaza noted that the false accusations against de Lima cost her nearly seven years of incarceration.

“Better late than never,” said Alminaza of de Lima’s June 24 acquittal.

Alminaza said he was worried because if a high-profile public official like de Lima can be subjected to such treatment, “we can just imagine the plight of ordinary citizens of our country.”

“As Christians, we are not vindictive, yet for the sake of our long-suffering brothers and sisters who are victims of such an unjust system, may those responsible be held accountable, and necessary steps need to be taken to avoid such abuse of power and authority again,” he said.

For former Negros Occidental governor Rafael Coscoluela, officials of the Duterte administration “should pay for the gross injustice inflicted on her.”

Coscoluela said, “Such abuse of power, driven by nothing but vindictiveness, cannot go unpunished or forgotten.”

Edwin Balajadia, a manager of the nongovernmental organization Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), described the June 24 court decision as a vindication and victory for the cause of truth and justice in the country.

He said, “The false and trumped-up charges showed the monstrosity and how the evil and dubious schemes of injustice and repression were used by those in the highest corridors of power” against one of the staunchest critics of the previous administration. – Rappler.com

1 comment

Sort by
  1. PD

    How can a coward like this man be a mayor. He turns with the wind. He has no principles, no moral.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Loading
Download the Rappler App!