Iloilo City

Iloilo reporter recounts distressing experience during Treñas’ meltdown

Erwin Delilan

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

Iloilo reporter recounts distressing experience during Treñas’ meltdown

IMPACTED. Journalist Joey Marzan of the Iloilo-based Daily Guardian talks about how he was affected by Mayor Jerry Trenas' meltdown and threats during a press conference, on Monday, May 27, 2024.

Erwin Delilan/Rappler

Despite Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas' public apology, a community journalist says he struggled with the aftermath

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — “Shattering,” was how community journalist Joey Marzan described the effect on him of the outburst of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas during a press conference at city hall on May 20.

Marzan, a reporter for the Iloilo-based Daily Guardian, told Rappler on Monday, May 27, that he was one of the targets of the mayor’s ire.

He recounted that the press conference started like any other day but turned ugly when questions arose about the old art deco façade demolition at the over century-old Iloilo City Public Market.

Must Read

Iloilo mayor apologizes for outburst over old market façade demolition queries

Iloilo mayor apologizes for outburst over old market façade demolition queries

Treñas’ meltdown showed the ongoing challenges faced by journalists, especially those in the provinces, in holding public officials accountable and carrying on with their role as members of a free press in a democracy.

For Marzan, the experience was a reminder of the vulnerability of reporters and the importance of their work.

During the news conference, reporters cited a statement from Dr. Ivan Anthony Henares, secretary-general of the Philippines National Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), about the controversial demolition of the nearly century-old façade of the public market. Henares was quoted as saying, “We are looking into it.”

The Daily Guardian initially reported on May 18, that the UNESCO-Philippines National Commission was looking into the controversial demolition. According to Marzan, they updated the report to indicate that it was the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) conducting an informal investigation after Henares made a clarification.

As an offshoot, Marzan, a journalism graduate at the West Visayas State University (WVSU), and fellow journalist Gerome Dalipe of Panay News found themselves threatened with libel accusations by Treñas over their reporting on the market controversy.

The mayor also spewed invectives, a moment captured on video by XFM Iloilo, during the news conference.

Despite the mayor’s public apology hours later, Marzan said he struggled with the aftermath.

“He should not have done that,” Marzan said, reflecting on the incident that, he said, caused him at least three sleepless nights and disrupted his normal workflow.

Marzan said he has already accepted the mayor’s apology but he still feels the chilling effects of the outburst from the most powerful man in the city.

“Because it was a threat,” Marzan said.

Francis Allan Angelo, editor-in-chief of the Daily Guardian, stood by his reporter, expressing his frustration on Facebook.

Angelo said, “I couldn’t care less for other people’s position on the issue. It’s between them and their conscience. The real reason is that our senior reporter Joey Marzan is severely affected. His output dropped and that affected the operations of the Daily Guardian as well.”

Since the controversial press conference, Marzan has not met his average daily output of three stories.

Angelo said the incident had broader implications. “It’s not about the Quixotic quest to fight windmills, especially the high, haughty, and mighty. Nor is it for the spotlight which I detest,” he said.

The incident also stirred reactions among local journalists, especially after a “draft” of the statement of the Iloilo City Hall Press Corps (ICHP) referred to the mayor’s actions and pronouncements as “perceived threats.”

The phrase “perceived threats” was later edited out and disclaimed by the ICHP as part of a leaked draft.

“We disown [the] prior version of the statement which may have been released to the public, as it had remained a draft prior to issuance, and leaked to unauthorized persons,” read an ICHP disclaimer.

Taya Yap, a senior reporter at the Manila Bulletin, earlier criticized the group based on the “leaked” statement, asserting that the incident involved real threats to working journalists.

Angelo reiterated his news group’s commitment to factual reporting, and position against misinformation and disinformation.

“We’ll endeavor to put information in a broader context because we know that very little news is born at the moment it comes across our wire. We’ll be the champion of facts and the mortal enemy of innuendo, speculation, hyperbole, and nonsense. We’re not waiters in a restaurant serving you the stories you asked for just the way you like them prepared,” he said. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!