By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — Senator Franklin Drilon considers former Iloilo City Councilor, Dr. Nielex “Lex” Tupas, 38, as an “asset” of the Liberal Party (LP), Ugyon Party’s umbrella political party.
Drilon was enamored with the youthful Lex, youngest son of the late former Iloilo Governor Neil D. Tupas Sr. and Ugyon Party bigwig, the moment the senator heard Lex speak in a private gathering in Iloilo City more than 10 years ago.
In 2005, Drilon predicted Lex Tupas “would be the next congressman in Iloilo (the senator did not specify whether in Iloilo’s fifth district or in Iloilo City’s lone district).”
Since “Tito Frank” is a closed ally–personal and political–of his late father and considered as one of the sharpest minds in the Senate during President Benigo “Nonoy” Aquino III’s tenure, the feeling became mutual.
Lex would consult “Tito Frank”, among other political big guns he trusted, in some of the most important political decisions he made.
It was in the LP, political party of former President Benigo “Nonoy” Aquino III, where Tupas’ political stock skyrocketed.
After he was elected as a city councilor in 2007 where he garnered a head-turning 73,000 votes in his first try, Lex Tupas grabbed headlines from his equally talented siblings also making waves in Iloilo province.
Many Ilonggos, in fact, were saying that Lex Tupas, appointed by President Aquino as executive director of the National Youth Commission (NYC) on November 11, 2015, was “more popular and well-loved” than his older brother, former Iloilo fifth district Rep. Neil “Junjun” Tupas Jr., at the time when both Lex and Junjun were lording over the political landscape respectively in the city and fifth district of Iloilo.
Lex gave up the NYC post on May 5, 2017 “to be with my family.” Others suspected he did not want to “displease” some “worried” LP stalwarts by holding on to the position under the Duterte administration.
After a three-year hiatus in local politics (wife Dr. Candice Alumisin-Tupas replaced him in the city council), Lex Tupas sent shock waves in the hearts of those aspiring to become the congressman in Iloilo City when he guested in Manuel “Boy” Mejorada’s program in 89.5 Homeradio Aliw Broadcasting on May 30.
He confirmed stories circulating since March 2018 that he and Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas “had talks” since last year about the possibility he would run for congressman on May 13, 2019.
Treñas, who is allegedly at odds with his brother-in-law, Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Jose III” Espinosa III, has announced he would run for Iloilo City mayor and his runningmate would be Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon.
Treñas and Ganzon, as well as Espinosa, are now with President Duterte’s PDP-Laban.
Some independent-minded Ilonggos believe when the smoke has been cleared, PDP-Laban will field Espinosa (congressman), Treñas (mayor), and Ganzon (vice mayor) in its official line-up in Iloilo City.
If Lex Tupas will formally announce his candidacy on August 11, 2018 during his 40th birthday, will he also announce he is discarding the LP and embracing the PDP-Laban, and thus “bumping off” Joe III?
Or will Lex Tupas be the LP’s official candidate for congressman versus Joe III?
“My decision to run is not based on political personalities,” Lex Tupas told Mejorada’s program. “There is a clamor; there is a calling from the people. I was raised by my father to excel, not as a mediocre. This is not about Lex Tupas but the future and vision of Iloilo City.”
If Lex Tupas decides to team-up with Treñas and takes an oath as the new PDP-Laban member, will “Tito Frank” let him go just like that?