By Francis Allan L. Angelo 

THE Syjucos of the 2nd congressional district of Iloilo cannot stomach another Tupas to occupy the governor’s office.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Augusto Syjuco said they are committed to the candidacy of House Majority Floor Leader Arthur D. Defensor Sr.

Rep. Defensor is aiming to re-occupy the governor’s office versus Barotac Viejo Mayor Raul C. Tupas, son of incumbent Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr.

“(We will support) Art Defensor definitely. I am morally, emotionally, physically committed (to support Art Defensor). And I am committed with a great sense of righteousness. My conscience would bother me if I become committed with Tupas instead,” Syjuco said.

Syjuco said he has been disappointed with the controversies and scandals that rocked the Tupas reign in the provincial capitol.

Syjuco and his wife, incumbent 2nd district Rep. Judy J. Syjuco, led the birthday party for the TESDA chief at the Iloilo Grand Hotel Wednesday.

The celebration was also an early Christmas party for the Syjucos’ supporters in 2nd district. Five town mayors were present – Gregorio Brazas of Zarraga, Romulo Cabana of Leon, Liecel Mondejar-Seville of New Lucena, Juanito Alipao of Alimodian and Gregorio Villarico of San Miguel.

Sta. Barbara Mayor Isabelo Maquino was not present but he sent a representative, municipal councilor Rema Gumban.

When asked about their support for Board Member Richard Garin who is Defensor’s running mate in 2010, Syjuco said he will sit with the former to discuss the 2nd district’s support for his candidacy.

Syjuco and Garin’s father, Philippine Coconut Administration chief Oscar Garin, had a falling out when the Syjucos supported Gov. Tupas in the 2004 gubernatorial race.

Syjuco initially pledged to support Garin but sided with the Tupases during the last days of the campaign period.

A compromise on the controversial “borrow pit” operation in the new Iloilo airport project, which was the cause of a bitter rift between Tupas and Syjuco, is believed to be the reason why the Syjucos rooted for Tupas.

“I must sit down with Richard Garin to talk about the support of the second district. I understand he will be formally seeking our support and we are willing to listen,” he said.

Syjuco said there has been no great conflict between him and the Garins, “just a misunderstanding and difference in personalities.”

“I don’t carry a grudge, especially in politics. The same people who fight in politics also ally together. Politics is a liquid and dynamic situation. I have no problems working with the Garins or with endorsing Richard Garin. If he seeks my endorsement, I will commit,” he said.