As political-family rift continues, former Iloilo City mayor eyes congressional seat

Published October 10, 2021, 3:26 PM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – Despite losing the mayoralty race to his brother-in-law in 2019, former Iloilo City mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III is trying to reenter elective office by running for congressman.

Espinosa filed for his certificate of candidacy (COC) for the lone district of Iloilo City.

Espinosa will run against incumbent Rep. Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda, who is allied with Mayor Jerry Treñas, whose wife Rosalie is the sister of Espinosa’s wife, Gina.

Before Espinosa announced his intention to run for congressman, there were earlier talks that he might try running against his brother-in-law for the mayoralty seat in next year’s election.

In a virtual press conference, Espinosa explained that his background in the legal profession is an advantage if he is elected as a member of the Lower House.

Espinosa is a lawyer by profession and once served as the legal officer of the Iloilo City government. He was also a vice mayor and city councilor.

During the 2016 elections, Espinosa was elected vice mayor. By rule of succession, he became the mayor when then mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog was dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged ill-gotten wealth.

Mabilog never returned to the country after an official foreign trip when he became the constant ire of President Duterte and linked him to the illegal drug trade.

The rift between Espinosa and Treñas began in 2018. At that time, Treñas was set to regain his mayoralty seat when his three terms as congressman was going to end while Espinosa was supposed to replace him in congress.