THE camp of Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III nixed politics as the main reason for the mass resignation of several executive assistants and aides identified with the group of Rep. Jerry Treñas.
Sources close to the mayor said the only thing the latter wanted from Melchor Tan, Boyet Rico, Rudiver Jongco, Mitch Antiqueña, Roy Firmeza and other city hall executives was loyalty to service, not politics.
Earlier, City Hall sources said the executive assistants resigned after they were purportedly forced to choose between Espinosa and Treñas, who are brothers-in-law (magbilas) since their wives are sisters.
But members of the Espinosa circle said it all started when the mayor summoned the executive assistants to a meeting morning of Mar 9, 2018 for “work-related matters.”
“The mayor was surprised when none of the executive assistants were present in their offices. He later learned that they were meeting at Treñas’ office behind the City Hall,” a source told The Daily Guardian.
In the afternoon, Tan and company went to the City Mayor’s Office and met with Jojo Castro, the mayor’s top aide.
Sources privy to the conversation said Castro told the executive assistants that the only thing Espinosa wants from them is to focus on their work instead of diverting their attention elsewhere.
Castro then advised them to quit if they believe that they cannot function as expected.
Tan served as city administrator when Treñas was city mayor in 2004 to 2010. He later became an executive assistant to former mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
Antiqueña headed the traffic management office also under the Treñas and Mabilog administrations. He is now a legislative staff of Treñas.
Firmeza headed the Iloilo City Urban Affairs Office under the Treñas administration. He reassumed his old post after being appointed by Espinosa early this year.
Tan, Antiqueña, and Jongco confirmed in radio interviews that they are resigning today, March 12, after the meeting at the mayor’s office. But they all claimed that they were told to resign as they “cannot serve two masters at the same time.”
The mass resignation happened a week after Treñas declared that he might run for mayor upon the prodding of barangay captains.
Meanwhile, Espinosa has declined to comment on the matter over the weekend but he is expected to address the issue in a press briefing today.
In an interview with The Daily Guardian on Air on Mar 10, Treñas said he is saddened by the latest development. But he said is openly talking with Espinosa to settle their situation.