Families flaunt political charisma in Iloilo

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

ILOILO province is in search of serious political leaders as well-entrenched political families continue to flaunt their political charisma and are expected to corner juicy political positions in the May elections.

Ilonggos, through decades of political family domination, are now craving for a new political leader that will come from the ranks of the common and simple people and definitely not from the oligarchs and rich families.

Simple people in the city and province would still remember the fiery remarks of the late city mayor Rodolfo Ganzon, whom they consider as the only one who was able to break the political oligarchy in the 1960s.


Ganzon was a jeepney driver from a poor family in Molo district in Iloilo City but became a lawyer who trained his sight to break the rich man's monopoly of Iloilo politics.

He became city mayor, congressman and senator; was incarcerated for several years under the Marcos regime, and then came back to become city mayor once again, only to be suspended several times.

Political observers in the city are also now clamoring for a new leader that will break the monolithic hold of the rich and the famous and give local governance a serious thought to bring back the lost glory of Iloilo City.

Incumbent City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas may embody the leader the Ilonggos lost for more than five decades. He signifies a simple, practical and doable leadership away from the stranglehold of the oligarchs and political dynasties that continue to grip the city and province of Iloilo.

Treñas has no other relatives in the political arena and could not be accused of bringing relatives to juicy government positions. He also embodies the serious politician out to render serious people-oriented service to his constituents.

So with Vice Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who is seeking the mayorship of Iloilo City. Mabilog is proud to say that he comes from a simple and poor family with no other relatives seeking political positions in the city.

On the other hand, political families and their dynasties continue to flaunt their wealth and connections.

In the city, the father and son former Justice secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. and Congressman Raul Jr. are running for city mayor and congressman, respectively.

In the province, the Garins lord over in the first district with patriarch Oscar Garin Sr. as the kingmaker. His relatives running in the May elections include son Richard for vice governor of Iloilo, wife Ninfa as mayor of San Joaquin, daughter Kristine as mayor of Guimbal, daughter-in-law incumbent Janette Garin for congresswoman, and daughter Sharon as nominee for party-list Aambis-OWA.

In the second district, Tesda Director General Augusto Syjuco is taking over the congressional seat from wife Judy Jalbuena, and both husband and wife team posted a strong political hold in the district.

In the third district, outgoing congressman Arthur Defensor is running for governor in the province of Iloilo, while lawyer son Arthur Defensor Jr. is taking over as a candidate for congressman.

In Northern Iloilo, the Tupas family is fielding five sons and a son-in-law as candidates in the elections with patriarch, outgoing governor Niel Tupas Sr. running for congressman in the fourth district, challenging incumbent Congressman Ferjenel Biron.

The congressman's father, Hernan Biron, is running for reelection as mayor of Barotac Nuevo, and brother Hernan Jr. is running for vice mayor of next town of Dumangas, Iloilo.

Tupas' son, incumbent Congressman Junjun Tupas, is seeing reelection and being challenged by first cousin, Vice Governor Rolex Suplico, in the fifth district. Another son, Raul "Boboy" Tupas, is running for governor and son, Beng Tupas, is running for mayor of Barotac Viejo.

Another Tupas son, Bongbong, is running for board member, while youngest son, Lex, is running for city councilor. Son-in-law Barley Balleza is running for Sangguniang Bayan member in the municipality of Banate, Iloilo.

Families flaunt political charisma iloilo

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