Tag Archives: Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr.

Duterte to Defensor: Federalism on my mind

“Federalism should be able to maintain unity among all. But this does not mean that we should boycott regional voices and the voices of ethnic groups.” — Khil Raj Regmi

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY — We were not surprised to learn that President Rudy Duterte admired Iloilo Governor Art Defensor as mentioned in a Philippine regional newspaper recently.
In 2015 when Duterte visited Defensor in the Iloilo Capitol, the future Philippine president sent former Cotabato governor and now agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol as his advance party.
Duterte was aware he would be late in his appointment with Defensor because of tight schedules in his Iloilo sorties.
Duterte knew Pinol was in good speaking terms with Defensor, a fellow Ilonggo, thus the former Davao city mayor was confident Pinol would be a perfect emissary.
“Diin na si Mayor Duterte?” Defensor asked Pinol as he entered the Office of the Governor. “Manong Art, on the way na sila na traffic lang. Nag press con pa sila didto sa Diversion Road.”
While waiting for Duterte, Defensor signed some papers on his table.
Pinol was entertained by prominent capitol officials led by Board Member Demy Sonza and Provincial Administrator Raul Banias.
“Mayor Digong (Rudy Duterte) has so much respect for Manog Art (Gov. Defensor). He believes that Manong Art, being a seasoned public servant, can understand the depth of his advocacy about federalism,” Pinol told Sonza and Defensor’s subalterns who surrounded him and took photos with him.


When Duterte arrived about 45 minutes later, Defensor accorded Duterte, who belonged to another political party, with a warm welcome.
They did not talk about politics. Duterte made known his intention why he was there and why he had been going around the country: to promote federalism.
Duterte did not seek Defensor’s support for his presidential bid (Duterte had repeatedly rejected calls from supporters to run for president saying he was only interested to promote federalism).
He enumerated the reasons why there is a need for the country to shift to federal form of government. Defensor, a veteran lawmaker and expert in political science, lent his ears to Duterte.
Duterte knew that Defensor was one of the only few public officials in the country today who have not been tainted with corruption.
At the back of Duterte’s mind, whether federalism will snowball, Defensor can survive because he believes that the Iloilo governor is clean and untarnished as a public servant.
Duterte knew his visit wasn’t a waste of time because he was explaining his platform to the right person.

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Posted by on December 18, 2016 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!, POLITICS


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Rivalry between 2 Defensor brods unlikely

“Rivalry doesn’t help anybody.” Peter Jackson

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — By having mastered the political art of timing, Iloilo Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. made sure his two lawyer sons, Iloilo third district Rep. Art “Toto” Jr. and Lorenz Noy, won’t end up as Abel and Cain in politics.
By the time the older Toto Defensor graduates (completion of his three-year term) from the House of Representatives in 2019, younger brother Noy Defensor, who will surely be elected as third district provincial board member in 2016, is ripe to replace him.
Rep. Toto Defensor’s political career will definitely not end in congress.
When father Defensor retires from politics, Toto might “inherit” the capitol top post–barring unforeseen circumstances, political and otherwise.
If both Defensor brothers are already in power, other political clans in Iloilo province might find it hard to capture the capitol in the next 12 to 15 years.


Toto and Noy, both young and energetic, can switch positions alternately as a strategy to stave off the ascension of potential Benjamins from other clans, leaving their competitors eating the dust.
Because of the timeline in the launching of their respective political careers, there is no danger in sight for Toto and Noy–or their wives–to clash for either congressman or governor in the future.
Seniority will always play a big factor in case there is an impasse, which is improbable given the solid leadership and command of their father.
Two other powerful clans in Iloilo province are also jockeying for their main bets to capture and recapture the coveted capitol top post.
Because of their wrangling over who should be the next congressman in the fifth district, the Tupas clan’s best bets for governor in the future–Iloilo fifth district Rep. Neil “Junjun” Tupas Jr. and Vice Governor Boboy Tupas–are in danger of falling by the wayside if they can’t bury their hatchets in a soonest possible time.


Semi-retired former Philippine Coconut Authority chair Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr. knows that his clan’s best chance to inch their way to the capitol is for him to be elected as vice governor in 2016.
A political wizard, Oca Garin, an engineer and former Iloilo first district three-term congressman, can’t rely heavily on his wife, Board Member Ninfa and junior son, first district Rep. Oscar “Richard” Jr. to initiate the grand capitol invasion.
Daughter Christine, mayor of Guimbal, Iloilo, is another alternative for vice governor in 2016, but the lady executive may find the shoes of the gubernatorial slot “too heavy” in the most likely event given the age and health of Gov. Defensor (God forbid), who is still good for one term (2016-2019).
It must be the patriarch Garin who should start the trek to the highest mountain. The rest of the family will just follow suit.


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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in POLITICS


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Premature campaign soliloquy

“Never do today what you can do tomorrow. Something may occur to make you regret your premature action.” Aaron Burr

By Alex P. Vidal

THE constant power blackouts experienced by residents of Iloilo City these past weeks didn’t augur well with the metropolis’ forthcoming hosting of the two Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meetings in September and October this year.

In 1993, when the Panay Electric Company (PECO) sought for a renewal of its franchise for another 25 years, a feisty cooperative group threatened to block PECO’s application if it could not assure the local consumers of a sustained and uninterrupted power supply for the next 25 years.

The cooperative group’s swashbuckling opposition came to a screeching halt when the power firm’s application for renewal of franchise went on a smooth sailing in the Iloilo City Council and in the House of Representatives.

Now that Iloilo City is in the thick of preparation for the important international confabs, PECO is giving the Ilonggos legitimate reasons to be jittery by the off and on power blackouts.


IT’S very apparent that June Mondejar is using his power and privilege as a member of the Iloilo Provincial Board to get undue advantage in his vitriol against Iloilo second district Rep. Arcadio “Cadio” Gorriceta.

If Mondejar did not reveal his intention to run against Gorriceta in 2016, people would not suspect that he was already launching a premature campaign assault to disparage the neophyte congressman from Pavia, Iloilo.

In his privilege speech on Tuesday’s regular session of the Iloilo Provincial Board, Mondejar scored Gorriceta for claiming credits in the implementation of various infrastructure projects in the second district of Iloilo by placing his name on the billboards.

Mondejar, a former mayor of New Lucena, bewailed: “When the old box culvert at Sayang, Baclayan in New Lucena was replaced with new box culvert with a bigger cross-sectional area, there was a printed name of a congressman. People believe or agree that it is his project because of the billboard. But, is it really his project? What effort did he exert so that this project was implemented on that part of the second district? Do not lie. Be honest.”

Since the speech was neither an expose involving an anomalous transaction and misuse of public funds, nor an inquiry on questionable deals “in aid of legislation”, Mondejar’s speech sounded like a premature campaign soliloquy.

If Gorriceta will also use his privilege hour in congress to blast Mondejar as a tit-for-tat, public service will derail.

If Mondejar wants to devote his time attacking his future rival for a congressional seat in the second district of Iloilo, he must resign as a board member and buy a radio blocktime program at a risk of electioneering.

A privilege speech in any legislative body—local or national–should not be wasted and exploited to launch a political assault and promote a political agenda.


ILOILO provincial administrator, Dr. Raul Banias, is reportedly being prepared to spoil former Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) administrator Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr’s bid to become vice governor in 2016.

No serious contender against Gov. Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. has been spotted in Iloilo’s gubernatorial radar in 2016 except, perhaps, perennial loser Toto Serapio Camposano (Independent).

Thus all eyes are in 2019 when Defensor will be prevented by the constitution from seeking a fourth term.

The hypothesis is that Defensor will walk away unscathed for his third and last term in 2016.

As a matter of strategy, anyone who wants to be remembered by voters in 2019 must secure a mandate in 2016 as the next three years will be crucial for name recall.

Garin Sr., an astute political strategist, must have anticipated this.

He is aware that former Iloilo fourth district congressman, Dr. Ferjenel Biron, has been patiently waiting for Defensor’s three terms to expire in 2019 and shoot for the slammer.

If Garin Sr. won’t make his move earlier, the well-rested and well-oiled Biron will decimate him.

Garin has been reportedly trying to inch his way to Defensor’s graces in a hope to secure the dream Defensor-Garin tandem in 2016.

If he wins as vice governor, Garin will be a breath away from the office of the governor.

As Vice Governor Garin, he will have leverage over his rivals, including Biron, for governor in 2019.

But it appears Defensor isn’t yet ready for a political marriage with Garin Sr. although they both belong in the Liberal Party.

The grapevine says Defensor is eyeing Banias, not Garin Sr. as his runningmate in 2016.


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Defensor: Lucero is an honest  man, some of his men aren’t

“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.” George Washington

By Alex P. Vidal

ILOILO Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. described Engr. Gracianito Lucero, chief of the Provincial Engineer’s Office (PEO) as “an honest man.”

Honest ini sia nga tawo. Dugay ko na ini sia kilala. I trust this man, but not some of his men. Damu gid man dira kawatan kag gina pa imbistigar naton ina (He is an honest man. I have known him for a long time. I trust this man but not some of his men who are really thieves. And that’s why I am investigating them),” Defensor told me in front of Lucero inside the governor’s office on Friday morning.

The governor was referring to the “pa-ihi” or fuel pilferage scam allegedly committed by some corrupt PEO employees.

Defensor has tasked Provincial Administrator Raul Banas to leave no stone unturned in the investigation.

“We are now doing the investigation,” Dr. Banas told me.

Executive Assistant Ruel Von Superio confirmed that “there is an ongoing investigation.”

Broadcaster Ibrahim Calanao, meanwhile, has owned up to the “pa-ihi” expose.

“Ako sina una nag expose, Lex. Ulihi na lang ina ang write-up mo. Dugay ko na ina gina hambal sa radyo. Ang iban nga truck didto gapa amolya sa patyo sang Janiuay ho. Didto nila ginapasuyupan gasoline ang tangke. (I was the one who first made that expose. Your write-up came later. I have been announcing this anomaly in my radio program. Some of the trucks were brought to a cemetery in Janiuay where the fuel pilferage was done),” Calanao said.

Lucero, by the way, told me his wife, who is a doctor, owns the “expensive” vehicle referred to by a source in my previous column.


My visit in the governor’s office on Friday morning actually coincided only while Defensor was waiting for Lucero to arrive.

They had an important meeting regarding the “pa-ihi” imbroglio.

Defensor showed strong eagerness to rid the PEO with corrupt elements.

I went there together with former North Cotabato Gov. Manny Pinol, who asked me to accompany him and his brother, Mlang, Cotabato Mayor Joselito, in his second visit to Defensor in one week.

Pinol, who was there two days earlier, was head of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s advance party in the courtesy call to Defensor.

I was not part of Duterte’s activities in Iloilo.

I came only because of Pinol, my long-time colleague in sports writing (we first met in 1991 during the House committee on youth and sports hearing on alleged sports anomalies when Pinol was still writing for Tempo, sister publication of Manila Bulletin).

Pinol, who dabbles as boxing manager, and I last met in Las Vegas three years ago when Manny Pacquiao lost by KO5 against Juan Manuel Marquez.

“This is your first visit in my office since I became governor (for the second time),” Defensor told me.


WE support the call of the Animal Welfare Association (AWA) of Iloilo headed by Anna Marie Rivera Wharton to halt the use of carbon monoxide poisoning via the “tambutso” or car exhaust in exterminating stray dogs and cats.

City Veterinarian Tomas Forteza has confirmed the practice in a radio interview, according to Wharton in her letter dated February 23, 2015.

Wharton’s expose surprised Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog who admitted “he has no idea of a humane method of killing stray animals that is lawfully acceptable.”

Mabilog referred the matter to Dr. Forteza and asked him to “research and check on the methods that may not be considered afoul with the law.”

Republic Act. No. 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998) mandates that “the killing of animals shall be done through humane procedure at all times.”

Humane procedure, under the law, “shall mean the use of the scientific method available as may be determined and approved by the committee (Committee on Animal Welfare).”

The law does not, however, specify these scientific methods, according to a recent article written by Wenceslao Mateo.

“But is killing of stray animals by carbon monoxide suffocation lawfully acceptable and a scientific method?” asked the article.

The article added: “A news report abroad reveals that carbon monoxide killing of stray animals, especially those in shelters, is outlawed in the US states of California, Tennessee, Maryland and Rhode Island.

“Also, both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Humane Society of the United States reject killing by carbon monoxide.

“They observed that carbon monoxide poisoning causes animals to suffer horribly while they are slowly suffocated, and often scream and go into convulsions while struggling for air.”

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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in POLITICS


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Mabilog admits mistake; Duterte visits Defensor

“Success produces confidence; confidence relaxes industry, and negligence ruins the reputation which accuracy had raised.” Ben Jonson

By Alex P. Vidal

MAYOR Geefre “Kalay” Alonsabe of Alimodian, Iloilo, a Liberal Party (LP) member, was the lone municipal mayor who joined Iloilo Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. when Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte, a PDP-Laban stalwart and rumored presidential aspirant, visited the Iloilo Provincial Capitol on Friday morning.

If the LP hierarchy is not jealous, it will not sanction Alonsabe, who seemed to be more excited and interested only on Duterte as a tough guy or a macho man, than as a potential rival of LP’s presumed standard bearer in 2016, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Mar Roxas.

Alonsabe’s personal admiration for Duterte does not mean he is willing to shift allegiance from LP to PDP-Laban.

Admiration is different from loyalty.

He admires Duterte but his loyalty is still probably with Roxas.

Currently scouring for more grassroots support, Duterte would love to be adopted by Alonsabe and other Iloilo mayors who are mostly LP allies.

Duterte did not have any idea, of course, that Alonsabe, an aggressive and popular public servant, is facing a graft case in the Ombudsman for the release of P3.241-million fertilizer funds in 2004 to a cooperative linked to former Iloilo second district congressman Augusto “Boboy” Syjuco Jr.

Duterte’s campaign in Western Visayas is expected to snowball with the help of his well-respected regional coordinator, Rotarian and lawyer Hansel Didulo.


If the mea culpa committed recently by Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog in the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the enforcement of the wheel clamping ordinance happened when the city mayor was Mansueto Malabor, the city council would have been up in arms.

Malabor could not commit an error without being bamboozled by opposition leader Councilor Perla Zulueta (now a consultant of Mabilog).

Under a vigilant and confrontational city council then, debates and conflicts were healthy signs that our government officials were doing their job.

With the executive and legislative branches engaging in a Punch and Judy show, media had a field day.

That’s how the check and balance worked if the two branches of government—executive and legislative—are independent of each other.

Thanks to the 12-0 win of the Liberal Party city council bets in the 2013 local elections, nobody will be willing to rap partymate and political benefactor Mabilog in the knuckles.


What happened was an honest mistake, according to Mabilog.

Because of the volumes of papers that the city mayor regularly signs on his table, he “mistakenly” inked his signature on the MOA with 3L company, which should have been forwarded first to the General Services Office (GSO).

As a matter of procedure, GSO would have to look first for 3L company’s competitors before any agreement was signed.

The signed document would then be sent to the city council for confirmation.

Because the cart was pushed ahead of the horse, Mabilog is asking the city council to cancel the agreement.

In the first place, if City Administrator Norlito Bautista and other officials in the city mayor’s office were doing their job, Mabilog would have been spared of this very fundamental error and the inconvenience of facing a backlash from critics.

It’s the task of the city administrator and the executive assistants to screen the papers, especially the MOAs, being stockpiled on the city mayor’s table.

The staff’s fatal negligence can bring unnecessary delays on important transactions and embarrassment to the executive office.

Heads must roll.


“What will happen to our country if Binay becomes the president?”

This was the straight and frank reply made by former North Cotabato Gov. Manny Pinol when retired Philippine News Agency (PNA) Iloilo chief Neonita “Mommy Nitz” Gobuyan” asked him pointblank: “Ngaa nagabira bira ka gid kampanya kay Mayor Duterte? (Why are you working so hard campaigning for Mayor Duterte?)

Gobuyan, who recently told Vice President Jejomar Binay in a chance meeting in Iloilo that Binay would be the next president of the country, asked the question to Pinol when they met inside the office of Gov. Defensor on Friday.

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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in POLITICS


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Iloilo leaders ready to secure embattled P-Noy

“Life is not a solo act. It’s a huge collaboration, and we all need to assemble around us the people who care about us and support us in times of strife.” Tim Gunn

By Alex P. Vidal

ILOILO appears to be the safest haven for the country’s highest official during political upheavals in a nationwide scale.

Ilonggo leaders have always been quick and firm in making a political stand.

They are aware that President Simeon Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III draws strength from them.

President Aquino is aware, too, that the Ilonggo leaders are willing to sink and swim with him.

After all, he feeds them well.

Ditto for the police and the military.

If he can’t stand the political and military heats in Metro Manila, President Aquino can transfer the Malacanang Palace in Iloilo where almost all the local leaders here don’t want him to step down amid rumors of coup d’etat.

Mr. Aquino will be safe in Iloilo as long as Gov. Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr., Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry P. Treñas, among other local chief executives and representatives are in power.

While other political leaders in the country have been mum over the simmering calls from various sectors for the president to relinquish his post in the heels of the “Mamasapano 44” debacle these past weeks, Iloilo leaders have rejected calls for Aquino’s resignation.

Negros Occidental leaders also joined those who want the president to finish his term until 2016.


It’s the people and the leaders in the entire Western Visayas who are willing to shield the president from those agitating for his resignation.

The Ilonggos also sneered at the call to impeach Mr. Aquino if he won’t step down.

They fear political destabilization and economic meltdown once the president has been removed or forced to resign.

Back in July 2005, Senate President Franklin Drilon asked then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to relocate the seat of power in Iloilo while the president’s enemies were ganging up on her for the “Hello Garci” fiasco.

Drilon, however, turned his back from Mrs. Arroyo several days later and joined those who wanted her to yield the presidency to then Vice President Noli De Castro.

Drilon wanted to be the next vice president via the rule of succession.

There are no signs that Mr. Aquino’s Iloilo allies will abandon ship and surrender him on a silver platter to the enemies.

They are four square behind the president.

“The Moro rebels are Filipinos, too. They are under our laws so they should also be held accountable for any violations of our criminal law,” Defensor announced recently.

“Let the Board of Inquiry investigate the incident. Let the Senate and the House (of Representatives) investigate it, better under a joint investigating committee. Let’s all wait for the result. The peace process should not prevent the government from seeking justice for the 44 killed SAF members.”


Treñas also tagged as a “call for grab power” the move to compel the president to resign and to be held accountable in the tragic massacre of the 44 elite cops.

The congressman said: “What happened in Mamasapano is one of the darkest chapters of our history. But what’s even more lamentable is the fact that some people cannot simply resist the urge to use the misfortunes of our nation for their own selfish agenda. This call for President Aquino’s resignation is a nothing but a call for power grab.”

Mr. Aquino can sleep tight while under the watchful eyes of his Western Visayas allies.

The 34-member Visayan bloc led by Treñas and Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez have already issued a manifesto of support for the president come hell or high water.

For these Visayan allies, the accountability and criminal liability should only fall on those who planned and implemented the operation against Marwan, a terrorist killed during the January 25 raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

The manifesto read: “We…commiserate and empathize with the families of the 44 members of the SAF who died during the said Mamasapano operation. We demand accountability for those who planned and implemented the debacle and the imposition of criminal liability for those responsible for the massacre.


“Change in administration should be the farthest solution to what happened in Maguindano and should not be our response to our currently hurting nation….The Mamasapano incident should create unity and strong front among us Filipinos instead of discord.”

They stressed that “The nation and our colleagues in the Philippine Congress to focus on the investigations and call for swift and thorough deliberations on what happened in the Mamasapano operation.

“The probe should immediately identify those who should be accountable for what happened, ensure that perpetrators of the massacre suffer the full force of our penal laws, and develop remedies that would prevent another incident from happening in the future to the men in uniform who are only fulfilling their vows to promote peace and order in the country.”

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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Boy Ex Javier is not Art Defensor

“Working hard and working smart sometimes can be two different things.”  Byron Dorgan

By Alex P. Vidal 

A VIDEO can be cruel if its entire episode is not seen.

The video of that ugly microphone-grabbing incident at the E. B. Javier Freedom Park in San Jose de Buenavista, Antique last Monday morning immediately elicited sympathies for ousted Antique governor Exequiel “Boy Ex” Javier after it looked like he was being bullied by supporters of newly-installed governor Rhodora Cadiao.

The scene where lawyer Kune Aldon forcefully snatched the microphone away from Javier’s grip was so distressing as Javier’s face suddenly turned pale like Winnie the Pooh frightened by the turn of events.

Upon realizing he was surrounded by Popeye, Bart Simpson, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Fred Flintstone and Wile E. Coyote, scared Winnie the Pooh obediently left the slaughterhouse after being whisked away by a lone aide.

Winnie the Pooh didn’t put up a resistance.

Aldon or Popeye later explained that he only grabbed back the microphone which Javier had allegedly taken away from Cadiao before the flag ceremony.

That scene where Javier allegedly grabbed the microphone from Cadiao was not seen in the video downloaded in the social media.

The incident would have been avoided if Javier only followed what ousted Laguna governor EJ Ejercito did.

Ejercito, who was also disqualified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for campaign overspending, did not anymore wait for the writ of execution from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Javier was disqualified for illegally suspending Valderrama mayor Mary Joy Roquero before the May 2013 polls.

Ejercito vacated the Laguna capitol after Manila mayor Erap Estrada, his uncle, convinced him to leave.


Cadiao was formally installed as the new governor after the DILG and Comelec served the writ of execution on February 3, after a week of leadership tug-of-war.

Javier is not actually doomed politically.

His ouster does not disqualify him from seeking another term for governor in 2016 which is 15 months away.

If Javier decides to run again, he will be up for a possible collision course versus Cadiao, who, by that time, must have already solidified her hold among barangay officials and municipal mayors.

It remains to be seen, however, if Antiquenos will revert back to the old politics that has stalled the growth of the province by electing Javier once again.

Javier has been in power since the post EDSA revolution.

Because of the memory and legacy left behind by his martyred brother, former governor Evelio, he cruised to an unprecedented three terms in congress.

His son, Paolo, has replaced Javier in congress.

Javier father and son have been lording over Antique politics like a dynasty.

Javier’s ouster as governor via disqualification was a bitter pill to swallow for a politician who has become a myth in his province.

Behind his mouth-watering winning streak as congressman and governor, however, was a protracted and unresolved conflict with the Pacificadors.

When Board Member Arturo “Turing” Pacificador died last month, Javier failed to put an exclamation point to their ugly political rivalry started by the late Evelio that dated back during the Martial Law years.


To compound the matter, Javier also had a falling out with former governor Sally Perez-Saldivar, who also became his arch-rival in Antique politics.

Despite his seeming invincibility, Javier is far from being a legend if we review the growing list of leaders in the province who have become dissatisfied and disillusioned with his brand of politics.

He is far cry from IIoilo Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr., who still commands the respect of both his rivals and supporters even if he has been in politics before Martial Law.

As a former assemblyman, Defensor was already a national figure long before Boy Ex Javier became a by-word in Antique.

Defensor also became Boy Ex’s colleague in the House of Representatives, serving the third district of Iloilo from June 30, 2001 until June 30, 2010.

When Defensor first became governor in 1992-1998, he beat future governor Neil D. Tupas, Sr. in one of the hottest gubernatorial contests in history.

Like Boy Ex, Defensor also swept his rivals and was never defeated.

The only difference is Defensor was never hated as a politician.

Instead of waging an Armageddon against Defensor, his former political rivals admired him and saluted the political paradigm shift that he has introduced in Iloilo.




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Posted by on February 4, 2015 in ELECTION, POLITICS


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For Whom the Bell Tolls: Defensor’s Hemingway Solution to MIWD vacuum

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
John Quincy Adams

By Alex P. Vidal

ILOILO Governor Arthur Defensor Sr.’s use of authority and influence to arrest the impending vacuum at the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) Board of Directors can be called as the Hemingway Solution.
Defensor has installed Dr. Teodoro Robles and Architect Ramon Victor Singson as new members of the MIWD board.
Robles, president of the Central Philippine University (CPU), will represent the academe sector, while Singson of the Rotary Club of La Paz, will represent the civic sector.
The appointment came in the heels of the resignations of Engr. Adrian Moncada and Bernadette Castellano.
The duo informed Defensor in a letter dated November 28, 2014 that they will serve the MIWD only until December 31, 2014.
Moncada represented the professional sector, while Castellano represented the women sector.
Their terms should have expired on December 31, 2016.
Robles, who will replace MIWD Chairman of the Board, Dr. Danilo Encarnacion, and Singson, who will replace Dr. Sergio Gonzalez, will officially join the water utility family on January 1, 2015 until December 31, 2020.
Encarnacion’s and Gonzalez’s terms will expire on December 31, 2014.
Defensor will fill up the posts vacated by Moncada and Castellano from the list of nominees to be submitted by Corporate Secretary Cyril Regalado.
It has always been the dilemma every leader faces at one time or another whether to use authority or influence in directing an organization.


As appointing official, Defensor’s authority gives him power to force change, to set goals for an organization or standards of performance, and demand that they be met.
Influence gives Defensor power in a different way.
Time magazine highlights the difference between authority and influence: “To have influence is to gain assent, not just obedience; to attract a following not just an entourage; to have imitators, not just subordinates.”
Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls is a classic that better demonstrates the difference between authority and influence.
It is a product of Hemingway’s interest and involvement in the Spanish Civil War.
The book focuses on man’s fate as he faces the difficult problems of living in the Industrial Era.
It closely scrutinizes the dramatic human issues of turning around a troubled organization like the MIWD, enabling leaders to understand better the differences between authority and influence, two of the most important tools of the leader.


As a leadership strategy, Defensor’s influence requires a willingness to guide–not command–employees.
It takes times and patience in the case of the MIWD.
It involves the nurturing of an organizational culture in which employees are the initiators of change because they see the need for it.
Influence empowers employees and in the process, empowers the organization.
“I will not be pressured. Arthur Defensor cannot be bought. I will appoint people whom we believe will serve to the welfare and development of the city and province of Iloilo,” the governor had vowed.
“Nobody can dictate me on what to do. Even the President, if I believe that he is wrong, I will not follow him.”

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Posted by on December 17, 2014 in POLITICS


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Capitol identifies checks scam artists

“Every rejection is incremental payment on your dues that in some way will be translated back into your work.” James Lee Burke

By Alex P. Vidal

By signifying interest to pay a partial amount of P5 million to the Panay Electric Company (PECO) out of the total P80 million arrears, Iloilo City Hall has restored the faith of other private utilities with pending collectibles from the city government.
The partial amount appropriated for payment of electric bills consumed since the time of former mayors Mansueto Malabor and now Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Trenas may be peanuts, but P5 million is P5 million in whatever dialect.
The biggest power consumption was recorded by the city public markets with bills reaching P30 million, including the P26 million in unpaid bills that mounted last year.
Although there was no available date mentioned for the next payment, at least city hall can now be given assurance that PECO will not disrupt its power lines this Yuletide season.
So many programs and activities in public plazas and other venues (gymnasiums, auditoriums, etc.) maintained by the city government have been lined up this Christmas.


One sure way to sabotage these programs and activities is to cut off the power lines in these areas due to non-payment of the gargantuan PECO bills.
The P5 million check is expected to protect all the Christmas-related programs and activities.
The move to pay PECO with the initial amount emanated from the City Council committee on appropriations chaired by Councilor Eduardo Penaredondo.
The windfall could be timely since Iloilo City is also scheduled to host segments of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in 2015.
By the end of 2014, city hall’s power bills are expected to increase now that the city government has installed several street lights and lampposts in the Diversion Road where some of the recently inaugurated state-of-the-art infra and road-widening projects are located.
Both city hall and PECO are studying some mechanisms on how to further reduce the bills without the need to slice a big chunk of the city budget intended for the employees’ benefits and the people’s basic needs.


We are glad that Roxas City Hall has released the business permit of Kapis Mansions owned by businessman Joaquin “Toto” Diaz Dumagpi, a Capiz-based friend of Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay Sr.
Mayor Alan Celino may have interfered and did not want anymore to further inflame the issue after the delay was linked to Dumagpi’s friendship with the vice president.
Dumagpi had fought tooth and nail since early this year to compel city hall to release his hotel’s business permit, insisting his papers were complete and properly documented.
In a press conference last month, Dumagpi scored the repeated refusal of the city licensing division to release the business permit, lamenting that the delay had cost Kapis Mansions millions of pesos of losses since the hotel was supposed to host the Department of Health (DOH) national convention.
Lawyer Leobeth Deslate-Delicana confirmed recently her client did not pay any penalty or surcharge to the city government.
There was no immediate explanation on the part of the city hall why it suddenly released Kapis Mansions’ business permit, which happened after the media extensively tackled the issue.


Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor is ready to lower the boom on Capitol checks scammers upon his return from a three-day trip in South Korea.
Fact finding committee chief, Atty. Suzette Mamon, has completed the investigation and Defensor was already informed about it.
The Iloilo provincial government had been defrauded with P170,345.21.
This was after Provincial Accounting Office found alterations in 17 disbursement vouchers and checks for the payment of medicines, drugs and medical apparatus.
The Provincial Treasurer’s Office issued P1,652,379.48 check to Diomar, more than the amount due which is only P1,482,034.27.
The transaction was made through Diomar Trading, a longtime supplier of the Capitol, it was learned.

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Posted by on October 23, 2014 in POLITICS


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Work and woman don’t mix

“It is the vice of a vulgar mind to be thrilled by bigness.” E. M. Forster


By Alex P. Vidal

The engineer who lost his job in a construction company tasked to repaint the Iloilo Capitol after admitting he ordered the vandalism on the building’s dome, will only have himself to blame.
Engr. Jose Maria Cesar Uychocde, representative of contractor V.N. Grande Builders and Supply that bagged the repainting job, reportedly wanted to impress a certain “Adele”, who works in a restaurant in front of the capitol, thus he ordered the painting of “Hello, Adele” graffiti on the capitol dome.
The imposing scribble has nothing to do with the contractor’s job order and can be seen and read by pedestrians and passersby downstairs especially in adjacent buildings.


The vandalism angered Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. who ordered the temporary stoppage of the firm’s P3.2-million contract unless somebody admitted the misdemeanor.
After several finger-pointing and dilly-dallying, Uychocde finally owned up the wrongdoing in front of Defensor last Thursday. He then resigned from the company. As of press time, the governor has ordered the resumption of the repainting works.
It was not immediately known if Uychocde, who is probably in his 60s, was married or not, but the moral of the story is: work and woman (we refuse to use the term “womanizing” because we don’t have any evidence that the engineer pursued Adele lecherously) don’t mix.


It is none of our business if Uychocde is enamored with Adele (whoever she is) or not, but the story clearly illustrated the risk and consequences a naughty laborer has to endure if he mixes his job with women.
If Uychocde manifested his interest on Adele privately, there would have been no vandalism; no temporary suspension of repainting job, no media ruckus, no scandal, no resignation and embarrassment.
There would have been no fuss if government property was not involved in his attempt to flatter Adele. The “Hello, Adele” has now become a “Goodbye, Adele!”

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Posted by on March 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


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