Earlier this month, House Majority Leader Art Defensor formally declared that he will again run for governor pitting him against Barotac Viejo Mayor Raul Tupas, son of outgoing Governor Niel Tupas, Sr. Held at the posh Hotel del Rio, Defensor’s coming-out party was an impressive “show-of-force” since it was attended by four out of the five incumbent congressmen of Iloilo, almost the entire Sangguniang Panlalawigan and 32 out of the 43 mayors of the province. For his part, Governor Tupas announced that he intends to run for congressman in the Fourth District against Representative Ferjenel Biron while another son, Niel Tupas, Jr. is vying for reelection in the Fifth District against the come-backing Rolex Suplico. Provincial Administrator Manuel “Boy” Mejorada, Tupas’s right-hand man, is planning to contest the Second District seat of Congresswoman Judy Syjuco along with Pavia Mayor Cadio Gorriceta. Governor Tupas has yet to proclaim a bet for the First District and it seems that Janet Garin will be the only incumbent representative which will have a relatively easy reelection bid.
It is also apparent that the 2010 elections in
Admittedly, I am one of those who wished that Mayor Trenas would run for vice mayor instead and remain with the Gonzalez group because not only will it break the existing “political equilibrium” in Iloilo City but personally, it will also threaten to upset harmonious relationships between family members. Definitely, there is truth to the saying that “all politics is local.” And if all politics is local, then local politics is indubitably personal. In my family for example, my uncle Atty. Greg Rubias is the law partner of Mayor Trenas while I on the other hand work as legislative consultant for Congressman Raul Gonzalez, Jr. and count among my close friends another Gonzalez son. I am sure like me there are many Ilonggos out there who find themselves in a similar situation being forced to choose between the Gonzalez and Trenas camps. Mandurriao ABC President Ricky Mendoza (no relation) in an interview over Aksyon Radyo perhaps captured the general sentiment when he said that “masubo gid kag daw indi ko mabal-an himu-on ko” in reaction to Trenas’s decision. That is why even though someone “in the know” already told me two days before that Trenas is indeed running for congressman, I refused to believe it and I was still hoping that Mayor Trenas will see the “wisdom” of Secretary Gonzalez’s plan i.e. that in case something happens to him midway into his term (assuming he wins), City Hall would remain in good hands and not inadvertently fall into the hands of a “clueless” person. In fairness to the old man Gonzalez, he tried everything to avert a fight - everyone in Iloilo City knows that the bill re-apportioning the city into two districts was tailor-fit for Mayor Jerry – and was nothing but supportive of Mayor Jerry's political career til now. But perhaps it was wishful thinking on my part to expect a politician to set aside personal ambition for the sake of sentimentality and such “foolish notions” like loyalty, camaraderie, harmony, etc. because we all know that a politician’s loyalty to a group ends where personal ambition begins.