Unlike what happened in the 2016 elections for Iloilo governor, the coming May polls for the capitol seat will more likely be contested by at least two of the four dominant political families in the province.
The four families are the Defensors, Garins, Birons and Tupases in that pecking order.
In 2016 the last termer Gov. Arthur D. Defensor had no consequential opponent, thanks to the “coalition” by the administration Liberal party whose presidential bet came from this region. Thus the need then to assimilate under a national umbrella the ragtag local fiefdoms.
Word is out that the former Rep. Ferj Biron is girding to reclaim his congressional seat in the fourth district. Although there is a slim chance he could still run for governor next year.
Right now politically the Tupases are like unpaddled rafts, with the estranged brothers Niel Jr. and Raul still to strike a semblance of compromise over their wounded pride.
The Garins meanwhile, have already “one foot” to the governorship. Christine Garin is the incumbent vice governor. Also the Garins are now the most strategically positioned to challenge Defensor in a provincial contest.
While Iloilo first district is among the smallest in terms of voting population, the Garin political advocacy has been active for sometime elsewhere in the province.
Besides Vice Gov. ‘Tingting’ the Garin family counts two congresswomen, District Rep. Janette and Party-List Rep. Sharon of AAMBIS.
The Garins have two mayors as well, the patriarch Oscar is mayor of Guimbal and wife Ninfa is mayor of San Joaquin.
A perception is likewise gaining traction that the Garin family is further strengthening its political hold within the district particularly in towns like Miagao.
The recent passing of Miagao vice mayor Leonardo Naldoza has created a political vacuum or at least an erosion of viable options for the Garins in this town. Naldoza was a known Garin protege and touted as the would-be Garin sponsored candidate for mayor next year.
Since power abhors a vacuum, it was no surprise that former Rep. Richard Garin transferred his voting registration to Miagao in early May this year.
Eerily much like the transfer by Rep. Braeden John Biron of his voting registration from Barotac Nuevo to Dumangas. But this is another issue we will tackle next. *