Tuesday, May 05, 2009

2010 is a "make-or-break" year for Tupas family

With only a year to go til the May 2010 elections, politics in Iloilo City is surprisingly "subdued." Except for a couple of individuals aspiring for higher posts, most political players in the city are hedging and not really mobilizing as yet since all are waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the legislative redistricting bill of Congressman Raul Gonzalez, Jr. The bill is currently pending with the Senate's Committee on Local Government chaired by Senator Noynoy Aquino.

The redistricting bill is the single most crucial factor in determining the political dynamics for the forthcoming 2010 elections. Political alignments, alliances and candidacies will be decided depending upon the outcome of the bill. If passed, the local LAKAS party headed by the Gonzalez-Trenas team will remain intact and continue to dominate city politics. Gonzalez Jr. will be re-elected handily as First District representative (comprised of Jaro, Mandurriao and LaPaz) while Trenas will continue on as Second District congressman representing the areas of Molo, Arevalo and City Proper. In the interest of party unity, the young and ambitious Vice Mayor Jed Mabilog will be prevailed upon to give way to the elder Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. as mayor of Iloilo City. And with the City Council membership increased from the present 12 to 16 seats, most incumbent councilors can expect to get reelected and with 4 new seats, politicians who lost in previous elections or with expired terms will now have better chances to reclaim their seats at the Sanggunian.

But if the Senate fails to pass the bill, many Ilonggos expect an exciting "battle royale" between erstwhile close allies. Although Mayor Trenas has repeatedly said, publicly and privately, that he will not challenge Raul Jr., many Ilonggos simply refuse to believe him. The young and ambitious Vice Mayor Jed Mabilog allegedly said that he will not run for mayor in deference to Raul Sr. but if it will be Raul Jr. who will run for mayor then he will challenge the son. The Liberal Party headed by Franklin Drilon, which represents the only remaining group with the wherewithal to challenge LAKAS in the city, is thinking of fielding Councilor Lex Tupas the son of Iloilo Governor Niel Tupas as a candidate for Vice Mayor. Coffeeshops in the city are awash with all sorts of political permutations, scenarios, and rumors all in the presumption that the redistricting bill will not get enacted in Congress. Hearing all these rumors, one thing I can say for sure is that Iloilo City definitely does not lack for ambitious individuals.

Another electoral race worth watching is the one in Iloilo province. Ilonggo politics is a family affair ("pinamilya" to borrow Congressman Art Defensor's term) and in a bid to become the most dominant political force in Iloilo, the Tupas family will be contesting most of the important elective posts in both the province and the city of Iloilo in the coming 2010 elections. Their patriarch, third-term Governor Niel Tupas Sr. will be running for congressman in the 4th District while his eldest son Niel Jr. will vie for reelection in the 5th. His second eldest son, Barotac Viejo Mayor Raul "Buboy" Tupas, is being groomed to replace the father as governor while their youngest child, Councilor Nielex Tupas is said to be eyeing the vice mayorship post of Iloilo City. Nong Niel's wife Myrna Causing will reclaim her old seat as mayor of Barotac Viejo while a couple of Tupas children are rumored to run for provincial board member or mayor in one of the towns in the fifth district. Provincial Administrator Manuel "Boy" Mejorada, whom many consider as the real "eldest son" of Nong Niel, is also planning to run either for vice governor or congressman in the 2nd District.

If successful, the Tupas family would have duplicated (or even surpass) the feat of the influential Garcia family which succeeded in achieving political supremacy in Cebu province in the last 2007 elections. The Garcia family presently counts a governor, two congressmen and a GSIS general manager from their ranks.

Obviously, this attempt to become the most dominant political family doesn't sit well with the other political clans as it will upset the traditional "balance of power" between the Five Families of Iloilo. Thus, the heads of the Five Families each have resolved to unite in order to prevent the ascendancy of the Tupas family. House Majority Leader Art Defensor of the 3rd district of Iloilo, Philcoa chief Oscar Garin (former 1st district rep.), 4th District Rep. Ferj Biron, TESDA chief Buboy Syjuco, Vice Governor Rolex Suplico and a hodge podge of political actors have banded together united only in their hatred (or fear) of the Tupases. Even the Gonzalez family, which historically doesn't concern itself with provincial politics, will also do what it can to stop what it considers as an "encroachment" of their territory with the bid of Nielex Tupas for the vice mayorship of Iloilo City.

With such powerful forces arrayed against them, 2010 is surely a "make-or-break" year for the Tupas family.


Anonymous said...

I am honored and flattered by your remark that I am "considered to be the real eldest son" of Governor Niel Tupas, Sr. I believe this perception will bolster my political stock value.

I will be running for the congressional seat in the 2nd district of Iloilo and liberate its constituents from the chokehold of the Syjucos. The kicking out of the Syjucos is long overdue, and I am determined to make it happen.

Oliver M. Mendoza said...

Good luck on your quest Manong Boy.

Anonymous said...

Dear Olie,

I think your inclusion of Bayani Fernando as one your probable choices reflects a seemingly "bandwagon" phenomenon on Bayani Fernando for the last few months.

Dati, maraming nagagalit sa kanya nung may ginawa sya sa ruta ng Katipunan. Ngayon, ang daming natutuwa sa ganda ng flow ng traffic. Dati di pinapansin yung sidewalk beautifications nya, ngayon ang daming humahanga sa mga red sidewalks.

Dahil dito, maraming nagsasabi na sya na ang iboboto nila sa 2010.

Regards .....

Gerry Cerbito

Anonymous said...

would you mind if i link this blog to my facebook?

Oliver M. Mendoza said...

not at all

Anonymous said...

Boy Mejorada is a sick old jerk. a sex maniac and an ambitious frog!