By Francis Allan L. Angelo

IT’S still Defensor-Garin all the way to the May 2010 elections.

This was the firm assurance of Board Member Oscar Richard S. Garin as regards his tandem with House Majority Arthur D. Defensor Sr. who is seeking the governorship of Iloilo.

Garin cleared the air of the yarn that his father, Philippine Coconut Authority Administrator Oscar Garin struck an alliance with the Tupases to support the gubernatorial run of Barotac Viejo Mayor Raul Tupas.

“There is no deal with the Tupases. If ever that is true, it’s unethical. Although my father and Gov. Niel Tupas Sr. have maintained their friendship after running against each other in 2004, there have been no talks or negotiations about our political plans with them,” Garin said after filing his candidacy for vice governor Monday morning.

Stories filtering out of the Tupas camp say the Garins will support Mayor Tupas in the 2010 elections. In exchange, the Tupases, who are members of the Liberal Party, will not field candidates against the Garin group.

BM Garin said that if his wife, Rep. Jeanette Garin and mayors in their camp don’t have opponents in next year’s polls, it’s because of their respective accomplishments and efforts as public officials, not for any political deal.

He said that if his father and Gov. Tupas were seen talking in the past days, “it’s because they get invited to the same occasions aside from maintaining their cordial relationship.”

“If ever my father talks to Gov. Tupas, I never authorized him to talk about my politics. The same thing is true for Gov. Tupas. My father did not even convince me run for vice governor. This is my own independent decision. We, the children of these two political leaders, are mature enough to decide on our political path,” he added.

Garin said they continue to be committed to Rep. Defensor’s gubernatorial run next year.

“I support the candidacy of Rep. Arthur Defensor for governor. Seven months ago, we heard that my father is interested to run for governor. He later clarified that he will not run but he will support Rep. Defensor. Our family including my wife and father are still committed to Rep. Defensor. We will exert our effort to support him,” Garin said.

Garin said his tandem with Defensor “is a combination of a good planner and a good project implementor.”

“Rep. Defensor has a dream of decent, honorable and transparent governance. And I join him in this vision that’s why I am running with him,” he added. 

Defensor and Garin went to the Commission on Elections provincial office in LaPaz, Iloilo City past 10am to formalize their candidacies.

They were accompanied by their candidates for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan – former congressman Licurgo Tirador and Juanito Acanto (3rd district), Rodolfo Cabado (2nd district) and JR Salcedo (5th district).

The Defensor-Garin tandem will carry the Lakas-Kampi-CMD banner although they have a tactical alliance with 4th district Rep. Ferjenel G. Biron who is running under the Nacionalista Party.

Dr. Macario Napulan, who is seeking his third term as provincial board member, will team up with former Oton mayor Carina Flores in the 1st district under the Lakas-Kampi banner. They filed their certificates of candidacy (CoC) along with Rep. Jeanette L. Garin.

In the 5th district, Board Member Jett Rojas will file his candidacy for a second term in the SP along with Vice Gov. Rolex T. Suplico who will try to recapture his old seat as congressman.

Dumangas Vice Mayor Hernan G. Biron Jr. and Dueñas Sangguniang Bayan Member Ronald Cajuya have filed their CoCs for the provincial board representing the 4th district.