Joe III open to coalition

ILOILO City Mayor Jose Espinosa III hands over a wheelchair to a resident of Balantang village in Jaro, Iloilo City over the weekend as part of his Pag-ulikid program. While he has yet to form his slate for the 2019 elections, Espinosa said he is willing to form a coalition with other groups.

WITH two weeks before the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC), Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe” Espinosa III said he still welcomes possible alliances for his mayoral bid in the 2019 elections.

Earlier, the group of Councilor Joshua Alim, dubbed as the “third force,” said they are open to forming a coalition with Espinosa.

“If you have a good platform, why not? I am open to all,” Espinosa said in a press conference Monday.

Alim had announced that he is vying for the congressional post while his mayoral candidate is Dr. Pacita Gonzalez, widow of former justice secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr.

Councilor Plaridel Nava will run as vice mayor but if Espinosa accepts their offer, Nava will step aside and Gonzalez will replace him.

Aside from the group of Alim, the mayor revealed that he also got offers from other groups.

Espinosa denied that he is dilly-dallying on his lineup because his political rift with Iloilo City lone district Rep. Jerry Treñas is only a “drama.”

The brothers-in-law are both eyeing the mayoral post next elections. Treñas earlier offered to Espinosa the congressional post, which the latter turned down.

Espinosa said he will bare his final slate before the filing of COCs on Oct 1 to 5.

He added that he has been meeting with thousands of political leaders, the private sector, women and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) groups, among others.

He is also conducting a series of consultations and planning with his own group.

“My slate will include both former and incumbent city officials,” he said.

The mayor said he is unfazed by the fact that majority of the incumbent city councilors are with Treñas, adding that one’s victory is not dependent on one’s ally but on the candidate himself.

Meanwhile, it is being floated that Treñas has chosen former city councilor Julienne Baronda as his congressional bet.

Treñas already confirmed that Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon will be his running mate.

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