In a false quarrel there is no true valor.” –William Shakespeare
I won’t gamble my fifteen cents to swallow hook, line and sinker the suspicions—or rumors—that Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas and Mayor Jose ‘Joe III’ Espinosa III are at now loggerheads and heading to splitsville.
But I won’t be surprised also if they will take advantage of the flap and use the puzzle to confuse their political enemies.
If the basis of these suspicions or rumors was the “irrevocable” resignations of the six so-called “Treñas Musketeers” composed of Melchor Tan, Jose Rico, Maria Irene Ong, Hector Alejano, Mitch Antiqueña, and Rudiver Jungco Sr. as Joe III’s advisers, we have more reason not to fret over the present political relationship of the congressman and the city mayor.
Joe III could not have sacked the six, who were reportedly meeting with Treñas outside city hall when Joe III called them out for a meeting.
A case of a bad timing or the city mayor decided to abruptly call for a meeting when he learned the six were outside the barracks?
And he only wanted to show them who’s the boss when he tasked executive assistant Jojo Castro to “chide” the six and refrain from “paddling their canoe in two rivers.”
Whether there is a tampuhan between Joe III and the six, the tampuhan does not have to translate into a full-blown political conflict.
Mature people can easily shrug off any potential time bomb that would divide and eventually bring the house into wobbly legs.
Both Treñas and Joe III could actually benefit from perception that they are having a cold war.
This would send mixed and confusing signals to their political rivals.
Treñas has already signified his intention to run again for mayor in 2019, while Joe III has not yet made up his mind whether to run for congressman, which is the only logical move if he will avoid a collision course with his bilas (their wives are sisters), or quit politics, which isn’t about to happen judging from Joe III’s excitement and appetite for public service since capturing city hall in October 2017 when the Ombudsman ousted Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
Could it be that Treñas and Joe III, by “acting” as Punch and Judy, were reading the Laws 6, 17, and 37 of the 48 Laws of Power?
Law 6 (Create an air of mystery): “Never make it too clear what you are doing or about to do. Do not show all your cards. Mystery and uncertainty create anticipation – everyone will want to know what comes next. Use mystery to beguile, seduce, even frighten.”
Law 17 (Keep others in suspense: Cultivate an air of unpredictability): “Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions. Your predictability gives them a sense of control. Turn the tables: be deliberately unpredictable. Behavior that seems to have no consistency or purpose will keep them off balance, and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves. Taken to an extreme, this strategy can intimidate and terrorize.”
Law 37 (Create compelling spectacles): “Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power – everyone responds to them. Stage spectacles for those around you, then, full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence. Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.”
If these “laws” or the messages they convey happen to reflect some nerve-tingling coincidences and similarities in the scenarios currently unfolding in Iloilo City’s political landscape, you be the final arbiter./WDJ