“Look around. There are no enemies here. There’s just good, old-fashioned rivalry.” Bob Wells
By Alex P. Vidal
THE political wound in Antique was never healed.
Now that both Evelio “Beloy” Javier and Arturo “Turing” Pacificador are gone, the chances for remnants of both camps to bury their hatchet appear to be nil.
Javier, a former governor, was assassinated on February 11 1986 after the snap presidential elections. He was 44.
Pacificador, a former assemblyman, succumbed to cardiac arrest on January 11, 2015 at the Antique Medical Center in San Jose de Buenavista. He was 84.
The intense rivalry of both political titans during the Marcos era placed Antique on the map.
Both outstanding public servants were so popular that when one of them was defeated in an electoral contest in the province, Antiquenos didn’t give a damn.
History was so unkind to Pacificador, a provincial board member before his death, because he was implicated in the Pangpang massacre and in Javier’s murder that helped spark the EDSA Revolution and toppled then President Ferdinand Marcos.
The death of Javier, a top ally of the late former President Corazon Aquino, signaled Pacificador’s decline in politics as he became a fugitive for 18 years.
He was, however, acquitted in both controversial cases: in the Pangpang massacred by Judge Nery G. Duremdes of the RTC Branch 11 in February 2001; and in the Javier case by Judge Rudy Castrojas of the RTC Branch 12 on October 12, 2004 both in San Jose de Buenavista.
Pacificador and the remaining members of the Javier clan led by Gov. Ezequiel, Evelio’s brother, failed to heal the wound that polarized the province since the Cory administration.
Gov. Javier still apparently harbored bitterness toward the Pacificadors.
The Javiers remain unconvinced of Pacificador’s innocence in Evelio’s murder especially that some of those who remained in jail are Pacificador’s closed allies led by lawyer Bob Javellana.
Even while he was in jail, Pacificador was hell-bent in recapturing his old glory in politics.
He was defeated by Salvacion Perez in the May 2001 gubernatorial contest.
Pacificador tried his luck anew for vice governor in the May 2004 elections but was put away by Rhodora Cadiao.
Remnants of the Pacificador and Javier clans continue to elbow each other in the political arena, and their conflict has even escalated now that loyal upstarts have risen and are determined to follow their footsteps in public service.
Gov. Javier himself has been disqualified by the Commission on Elections after he suspended a municipal mayor in violation of the Omnibus Election Code.
His suspension is under appeal as of press time.
It remains unclear if offspring of both political clans can finally settle the animosity that began more than 40 years ago.
The quarrel has not helped Antique in terms of development.
There are certain parts of the province that need repair, rehabilitation and attention from the national government.
The Javiers have enjoyed the blessings of at least four presidents in the past since Marcos fell: Mrs. Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos. Joseph “Erap” Estrada, and now President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.
Pacificador will be laid to rest on January 24 in his hometown in Lapaz, Hamtic, Antique.
Let’s hope that the remaining members of both clans can finally forgive each other, let bygones be bygones and work together for the development of Antique.