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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Garin family in southern Iloilo will go all out for House Majority Floor Leader Arthur D. Defensor in his gubernatorial bid in the 2010 elections.

This was the assurance of former congressman and Philippine Coconut Authority chief Oscar Garin amidst reports that he struck a deal with the Tupas camp.

The patriarch of the Garin clan said they will do everything they can to help Defensor win the gubernatorial race in the 1st congressional district.

Garin, whose son Board Member Richard Garin is Defensor’s running mate, said reports that he made a deal with the Tupases is a “divide-and-rule” tactic.

Reports said that Garin and the Tupases have agreed to support Barotac Viejo Mayor Raul Tupas for governor and BM Garin for vice governor, thereby leaving Defensor in the cold.

The reports said the Garins will campaign for Tupas in the 1st district while the Tupases will carry BM Garin in the 5ht district.

The Tupases reportedly agreed not to field any candidate against the Garin group as part of the deal.

One sign of the deal is the candidacy of former Miag-ao mayor and PNP general Gerardo Flores for the provincial board instead of running against incumbent 1st district Rep. Jeanette Garin.

The Garins will also support Flores’ candidacy as part of the deal.

Garin said his reported deal with the Tupases is only meant to stir and break their alliance with Defensor.

“Whoever concocted these information maybe wants Arthur (Defensor) to react and vent his ire on us. But we all know that he is an astute and broad-minded politician. This is just plain intrigue,” Garin said in separate interviews with Bombo Radyo and Aksyon Radyo.

Garin said the Tupases will have a hard time looking for candidates who will oppose their slate in the first district.

He cited the case of Oton where Mayor Vincent Flores who has settled his dispute with Vice Mayor Jose Neil Olivarez.

“If Mayor Flores has no opponent, it’s not because of any godfather or deal. It is because he reconciled with his potential rival,” Garin said.

Garin said they will support the candidacy of former Oton mayor Carina Flores for the Iloilo provincial board.

Garin said he will not be compelled to dance to other people’s tune.

“They want other people to fight their own war by sowing these stories. We will do everything to help Art Defensor in the 1st district,” he said.

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SP probes Tupas’s ‘misuse’ of Capitol’s heavy equipment

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Iloilo will investigate the alleged misuse of government heavy equipments in the construction of Gov. Niel Tupas Sr.’s house in the town of Banate.

Board Member Richard Garin triggered the investigation when he presented a copy of the video showing province-owned dump trucks and bulldozer and grader owned by the Banate municipal government working in Tupas’ house at Brgy. Juanico, Banate.

Garin said the video, which has been labeled “Iloilo Capitol Video Scandal,” has been spreading in the Internet via YouTube, a video hosting site.

Copies of the video can be viewed in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnShzHtGqsU and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R_gwWu3iMg.

Photos and videos of the heavy equipment were also posted in two blogs: http://krusadakontrakurakot.wordpress.com and http://kontramakawat.blogspot.com.

Garin said the investigation should clarify why the dump trucks and other heavy equipments are working in Tupas’ house.

The committee on infrastructure chaired by Board Member June Mondejar was initially tasked to lead the investigation along with the committees on good government.

But Capitol sources said Mondejar, a known Tupas ally in the provincial board, refused to handle the issue.

Vice Governor Rolex Suplico said the committee of the whole, which he also chairs, will investigate the issue to involve all provincial board members.

Suplico said they will invite officials of the Provincial Engineer’s Office (PEO), the provincial motor pool and Banate municipal government to explain their side on the issue.

Truck driver Ken Jun Enojas Jr. said he and Domingo Ferrolin were ordered by Engr. Francisco Boy Nobleza, chief of the PEO’s motor pool, to work on a barangay road in Banate.

But Nobleza said he has no authority to deploy trucks, particularly Trucks No. 5 and 11 which are under the jurisdiction of the PEO’s 5th district office in Barotac Viejo under Engr. Ananias Lago.

Banate belongs to the 4th congressional district where Tupas will run for congressman.

The Office of the Ombudsman will also look into the issue saying it will examine the pictures and videos spreading in the Internet.

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