I find it hard to imagine how Mayor Jerry Treñas eventually gave in to the never ending criticisms and jabbing of Nerio Lujan, head of the Public Information and Community Affairs Office (PICAO) of the Iloilo provincial government, which led him to announce his intention of filing a cyber libel complaint against the latter. A seasoned veteran in politics, Treñas, if my memory serves me right has never filed a libel case against any journalist who in one way or the other has publicly criticized him and his actions. He did not even blink from the issues hurled by blocktimers during election time.

“The constant non-stop whole year round attack by a public official on Facebook against me should be decided whether it is legal or illegal by the courts. I am a legitimate target in my actions by anyone but whether another official has the right to cyber bully, harass, put me in ridicule whole year round is another thing. It is about time this is stopped…” said the city mayor in a social media post.

Treñas must be hurting and must have been affected by the never ending criticisms Lujan has been making in his Facebook account. It may have started during the height of the Traffic Management and Transportation and Regulation Office (TMTRO) implementation of several traffic ordinances and mutated recently when the city government allowed the demolition of the art decoration and fascade of the old central market being reconstructed by SM which for Lujan was a violation of the heritage laws that provide protection for several historical and heritage structures in the country. Remember when Treñas suddenly claimed the credit for the nationally acclaimed Flavors of Iloilo book of author and Ilonggo Chef Rafael Jardeleza Jr.? Many of us who knew of Jardeleza’s hardwork defended him on social media but it was Lujan who mischievously and continously criticized the act of the city mayor.

I must say though that the posts of Lujan were not limited to the policy actions of the mayor. Even the children of the city mayor were not spared from his criticisms and indirect insults and almost every political action of the mayor has not escaped the jabs of Lujan. It left the mayor and perhaps many other observers asking the question whether or not Governor Toto Defensor Jr. doesn’t have any idea at all of Lujan’s posts.

Is Nerio Lujan then criminally liable? While I agree with the city mayor that by bringing his complaint to the courts will enrich the jurisprudence of the country on the matter, the same is simply just a waste of time and resources of the government just like any other libel and cyber libel cases given the huge back logs of the Philippine courts over the many cases they are attending to. One’s attitude is a consideration for legal action but for an educated person like Lujan, his actions or inactions are always easy to discuss over the table with his superior, the governor, unless of course the mayor and the governor are not in good terms.

Lujan’s tirades for me are a question of courtesy and delicadeza. On a personal note, it’s off but not libelous. Treñas having endured the atrocities of martial law and has fought in principle alongside Lujan before for what is just and fair must rethink his decision. I can only assume that somebody who wants to enter his circle must have added fuel to the fire to gain his trust. He said that he felt he was being bullied, harassed and ridiculed. But, did he even think about those city hall employees he bullied, harassed and ridiculed simply because his inner circle told him that they supported former mayor Joe Espinosa III?

Now the mayor’s friends and allies must be very excited about the reaction from the governor. Knowing the governor, he won’t. After all Toto Defensor is not the kind who gets easily swayed and influenced by the people around him having observed him during the first time he ran for governor. He is an intelligent tactician. He would rather impose upon you his wicked silence and discreetly wait for the right time to overturn the table and run you over. In the end, Mayor Treñas just made himself exposed and vulnerable while Nerio is left smirking while sipping his coffee.

Oh, I remember Provincial Administrator Raul Banias posting his photo on Facebook while having coffee inside the coffee house of Nerio’s son a day after Treñas made the threat.