Political dynasty not inclined to prosper in Iloilo City

November 10, 2012 12:23 am 

By Perla G. Lena

ILOILO CITY, Nov. 9 — Iloilo City rejects the idea of a political dynasty here, and a local legislator underscored that people here choose their leaders based on their output, not their surname.

Councilor Nielex Tupas, who comes from a powerful political family in the fifth district of Iloilo province, said, "I ran in a territory which is not our own. I started from scratch.”

He admitted, however, that somehow, being a Tupas helped him win in his first try in the political arena.

But his succeeding term, according to him, was a result of his performance and competence.

“I think (political dynasty) is prevalent in other areas but not in Iloilo City,” he stated.

Lea Lara, executive director of the Iloilo Business Club here shared that Iloilo City is dynamic.

While political dynasty assures one of support because you have the right family name, however, the negative connotation that goes with the term makes it even difficult for those who deserve to become leaders, she opined.

Nonetheless, she said that it would be better if everyone is given the equal opportunity to serve.

There has to be term limit and that the leadership should not be subjected to “generation rule.”

“You must get the position fair and square and not because of patronage,” she added.

Meantime, lawyer Joshua Alim who started his political career in 1995 shared that city residents always reject the idea of having two members of a family occupying elected positions simultaneously.

“Iloilo City is very fortunate because historically voters reject families that run in tandem; either they will both lose or only one will win,” he said.

Former Mayor Mansueto Malabor and his son Mandrei made a comeback in the previous elections and they both lost.

The younger Malabor ran and won in 2001 after his father ended his term. He served for a single term and lost when he ran for re-election.

On the other hand, former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales Sr was succeeded by his son Raul Gonzales Jr when he ended his term as the lone district Rep. of Iloilo City in 2004.

They both lost, however, when they ran in the previous elections.

The younger Gonzales will make a comeback this 2013 while his sister Dr. Marigold Gonzales will try her luck in the city council.

There were other political leaders in the past who ran in tandem but either one got the position and the other failed, such as the former Sen. Rodolfo Ganzon who ran for senate while his son vied for a local position.

Alim cited the lack of controlled votes as reason for the failures of attempts to establish a political dynasty here. He cited that people regardless and how much you helped them in the past would tend to forget.

However, he believed that if there is one member in the family who is in the position, then somehow he/she can exert influence to make another member of the family grab an elective seat.

Iloilo City votes separately from the province since it was declared a Charter City in 1937 by virtue of Commonwealth Act No.158.

It is the mayor that holds the reign for the entire city in tandem with the Sangguniang Panlungsod headed by the vice mayor along with 12 elected councilors and two ex-officio members.

It also has its own separate representation at the House of Representatives.

It currently serves as the regional center of Western Visayas.

Iloilo province on the other hand is under the leadership of a governor. The province, which is divided into five legislative districts, is composed of 42 municipalities and one component city. (PNA)

HBC/AJP/PGL/VLO

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