Iloilo pol bigwigs align ‘for progress,’ unite vs Biron

By Florence F. Hibionada/ PNS

The impossible made possible. And yet another history for Iloilo and its politics.

Three of Iloilo’s formidable political clans united and forged an unexpected alliance under the banner of the ruling Liberal Party (LP). The unity, LP’s Senator Franklin Drilon said, is the first step the administration is taking to ensure Iloilo’s progress and development.

Such, as Drilon denied and stressed, the party’s “historical” decision has nothing to do with the seeming lead in the gubernatorial bid of Fourth District Representative Ferj Biron.

The Drilon-led Iloilo LP declaration was made yesterday to seal what has been weeks of rumors as to who will officially bag the LP candidacy here.

“Today is a historic occasion for the political leadership in the Province of Iloilo, for today the Iloilo leaders will unite in support of President Noynoy Aquino and in support of growth and progress,” Drilon began. “Our leaders have set aside differences and come out with a united ticket.”

Drilon then went ahead to declare the Iloilo LP bets led by LP candidate for Governor, incumbent Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. And the second major announcement – Iloilo LP nominated bet for governor Niel Tupas Sr. giving way and agreeing now to be the party’s Fourth District Representative.

No detail was given as to who will be fielded as Vice Governor though talks are ripe that it would be former Barotac Viejo Mayor, Raul Tupas.

The rest of the “LP powerhouse” is a Garin for First District Representative, Pavia Mayor for Second District, reelectionist Artur “Toto” Defensor Jr. for the Third District and reelectionist Fifth District Representative Niel Tupas Jr.

Incumbent Vice Governor Richard Garin agreed to abide by the party’s decision and not to seek reelection.

“This unity that we forged is for the development of the province and city of Iloilo where development cannot proceed without it….that is the long and short of it,” Drilon said. “We are not after any political enemy..we are united for the people for having an opposition is for a healthy democracy, let the people choose.”

Defensor when presented by Drilon as LP bet had a ready smile and waved to the media from the presidential table.

Tupas for his part said, “This is a historic occasion, sadto kontrahanay subong isa na lang kami ka lamesa.” While Defensor in response had this to say, “Today we write a new chapter in the political history of the Province of Iloilo. A chapter that will move the Province of Iloilo forward and faster in the field of development, growth and progress. It is indispensable then that the leaders should unite if they want to see progress. In this regard, leaders have set aside our political differences.”

Such as the governor acknowledged the sacrifices of the two families saying he knows how difficult is must have been to accept all this in public.

“This is one sacrifice not political in nature but with nobility, honor and dignity, not for self but for the people of the Province,” Defensor continued.

More sentiments from Tupas Jr. who said the family’s agreement to have Niel Sr. gave way to Defensor Sr. “is just a small sacrifice to achieve unity…”

“Kabalo man kamo there was a convention sa partido LP..may mga announcement not just from me and from tatay with respect to his candidacy for governor. His reasons then ginatindugan sa gihapon namon but we make this sacricifce…..indi man importante ang posisyon for what matters is kung paano kami ka bulig. It is just a small sacrifice for the family.”

To note, Tupas will be in his 14th election following his first bid in 1965, all throughout an LP member.

“I have never abandoned the LP…kabalo ka masakit man ini ugaling ginakilala naton aton lider, si Presidente Noynoy,” Tupas said while admitting “sang primero I have decided to run pero I gave way bangud Presidente ang nagpangabay kag may rason ang Presidente.”