"I AM both happy and sad."
This is the response of outgoing Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. when asked by the press Thursday, June 20, about his feelings toward his retirement from politics.
Defensor said he is happy in the sense that he will be relieved of the duties and responsibilities of a local chief executive.
“I have sacrificed for 18 years. You have seen how hard the work was. Bisan sa pilermahan pa lang, daw masurrender ka,” he said.
Defensor served as governor of Iloilo from 1992 until 2000 and was again elected in 2010, 2013 and 2016 elections. His administration is set to officially end on June 30.
His son, governor-elect Arthur Defensor Jr., will assume the post effective July 1 after his oath of office before Ilonggo Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza on June 28 at Iloilo Provincial Capitol.
“Happy of the thought that I have served my people. I was given the opportunity to serve them well. I have shown an example that you can run this government in a very transparent and accountable manner,” he said.
Defensor, now 77, said Ilonggos gave him the chance to give his best shot in running the Provincial Government. His consolation as a public servant was the thought that he believed his work, especially his legacy projects and brand of governance, was appreciated by Ilonggos.
During his press conference Thursday, June 20, he also reiterated that he will not be an influence peddler to his son.
“When I said I am done, I am done,” he said.
All department heads have been directed to finish what has to be finished before he left. Those projects that cannot be finished by then will be taken care of by the new administration.
When asked what he will do next after retirement, Defensor said he will look after his small farm in Mina. As to his critics, the governor does not give a damn, saying he is not new to criticism.
“When you are in government, you cannot please everyone,” he said.
As to the people who have faith and trust in him, Defensor said he will miss them dearly. (PR)