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FIGHTING ON TWO FRONTS

I was told the Liberal Party commissioned a poll survey firm to get a snapshot of how the congressional battle between two Tupases — Boboy TupasFive and Atty. Gel Tupas — in the 5th district of Iloilo.
According to my unimpeachable source, the survey outcome showed the incumbent Iloilo vice governor leading his sister in law by a mile. If elections were held during the survey period two weeks ago, Boboy would have trounced Gel by 4:1.
With barely 100 days left before the elections when that survey was done, it shows a hopeless fight for Gel. Her husband, incumbent Congressman Niel “Junjun” Tupas Jr., could not lift her enough to put up a good fighting chance.
Gel’s woes are aggravated by the fact that Junjun is also running for vice governor of the province. Her husband would not be able to campaign as hard for her. He has his own battle to fight.
Junjun is running against Guimbal municipal mayor Christine “Tintin” Garin, daughter of 1st district kingpin Oscar Garin Sr.
The latest surveys showed Junjun enjoying a slight edge over Garin, owing much to the immense political goodwill of the Tupas family name.
But Junjun is navigating through hazardous waters.
That’s because he is violating a cardinal rule in warfare (and politics is basically warfare): never fight on two fronts.
Gel is just proxy for Junjun in the 5th district. The outgoing congressman wants to keep his hold on the congressional district and occupy a position that could propel him to be governor of the province. It’s a classic illustration of “having his cake and eat it, too.”
The Garin clan is not about ready to give Junjun an easy slide into the second highest elected position in the province.
This early, Garin is bombarding the airwaves with TV and radio advertisements. She is determined to put up a stiff fight.
Junjun faces big problems because while Mar Roxas affirmed he is the official Liberal Party candidate and there is no “zone libre” for the vice gubernatorial race, local LP candidates have manifested their open zone policy for Garin.
Even Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. has announced publicly he will not pressure his municipal mayors to obstruct the campaign of Garin. That in itself is “zona libre” in disguise.
In the 4th district, come backing Dr. Ferj Biron AccountTwo is certain to campaign against Junjun. Biron is the official candidate of the Liberal Party. His support for Garin will pull the rugs under his feet because the 4th district was always a Tupas bailiwick. For it to go to Garin will deprive Junjun of a traditional political base.
When the campaign period kicks off, Junjun will have to make a tough decision. Does he pursue his ambition to control the 5th district at the same time as his vice gubernatorial bid? Or will he pick one battle and try to win that, sacrificing the other?
He only needs to look back in history to know that fighting on two fronts simultaneously is dangerous. Even the most brilliant military strategists, notably Napoleon and Hitler, faltered and failed when they succumb to that temptation.
Another problem facing Junjun to his vice gubernatorial campaign is the possibility that his own siblings, and die-hard supporters of his late father, Niel Tupas Sr., might openly campaign for Garin.
It would be tragic to see Junjun lose on both fronts.
His overreaching ambition, and perhaps greed, will only lead him to damnation.

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A giant comeback

The appointment of Janet Garin as DOH secretary completes the comeback of the 1st district political dynasty in the national stage.Janet Garin
It shows the political adroitness of the patriarch, former Congressman Oscar Garin, in jumping from one administration to another.
The Garins have never stayed out of the political loop of every administration for too long.
In 2000, Oca Garin was appointed by Pres. Erap as presidential assistant for Western Visayas. He hesitated. He accepted the appointment sometime in November 2000 or thereabouts. By January 2001, Erap was kicked out from office, leaving Garin drifting in the political ocean.
But true to form, Garin quickly got into the good graces of the Gloria Arroyo administration. Before long, he was appointed as chief of the Philippine Coconut Authority.
Garin was a marked man as far as Liberal Party leader Franklin Drilon was concerned. Drilon regarded him as a mortal enemy. Corruption issues flew thick in Garin’s wake. In 2010, Garin campaigned for Villar. When he saw that the victory of Noynoy was unstoppable, changed colors three days before the elections.
It was not enough to gain him entry into the good graces of the Aquino administration. He was ultimately removed as PCA chairman and once again stayed as a benchwarmer.
That changed, however, in 2012. Drilon embraced Garin to pave the way for a “unification ticket” for the Liberal Party. Garin’s wife and children all ran under the LP banner in 2013 and won. Janet Garin was appointed DOH undersecretary.
And now Janet is DOH secretary. Oca Garin must be wearing a big smile these days. He has once again outmaneuvered everybody, including the grand old man of the Liberal Party in Iloilo, Niel Tupas Sr.
Tupas, who sacrificed greatly for party platform and principles, does not even hold an appointive position.
I am not saying that Dr. Janet Garin is not competent. She is intelligent and capable. She might even make a good DOH secretary.
But the message is that this appointment conveys is that the Aquino administration has embraced traditional politics as a means to survival and strengthen its chances of getting a partymate to succeed H.E. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III on June 30, 2016.

An early look at the 2013 gubernatorial race | The News Today

An early look at the 2013 gubernatorial race | The News Today.

President Noy calms LP Iloilo leaders’ fears

There is yet no formal request for the Garin family to be inducted into the Liberal Party, and if its local leaders shouldn’t worry when it does happen, for their voice will be heard and given great weight before any action is taken on the matter.

This was the assurance given by no less than President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III after getting hold of the manifesto adopted by Iloilo provincial leaders of the Liberal Party expressing their concern and opposition to the reported attempt of 1st District Rep. Janette L. Garin to sneak her way into the new party in power, and in the process assuring the extended stay of her father-in-law, Oscar Garin Sr., as administrator of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

Here is the full text of the letter of the President dated September 21, 2010:

“The Liberal Party

“Provincial Directorate

“Province of Iloilo

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your manifesto regarding the alleged attempt of the Garin family particularly Philippine Coconut Authority Administrator Oscar G. Garin Sr. and Cong. Janette L. Garin to be included as members of the Liberal Party. I wish to inform you that there are no formal requests for their inclusion in the Liberal Party.

“Rest assured that there will be proper consultation with you if ever we will receive such request in the future.

“Warm regards.

“Sincerely,

“BENIGNO S. AQUINO III”

The letter was warmly received by local LP leaders who had begun to worry about the “insidious” maneuvers of Cong. Janette Garin to obtain the acceptance of the national leadership of the party. After the elections, she and her father-in-law invited the victorious come-backing Senator, Franklin M. Drilon, to grace the oath-taking of the Garin family members who were voted into office. Drilon politely declined their invitation but attended the oath-taking of City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and Cong. Jerry Trenas on June 28.

When the closure of this avenue became obvious to them, Cong. Garin focused her efforts on befriending Cong. Niel Tupas Jr. through several intermediaries. Her machinations were also doused with cold water.

The elder Garin has managed to cling to his position and obtained an extension until Dec. 31 this year, which was the reason why Cong. Garin worked hard to gain support for their defection to the Liberal Party. She had wanted to get a new appointment for her father in law despite his notoriety at the PCA as an absentee administrator.

In their manifesto, the local LP informed the President about Garin’s background in politics.

Garin, the manifesto said, has always been quick to change parties depending on who was likely to win as President. This way, he always managed to stay in the good graces of whoever was the President of the Republic. In the last elections, Garin openly campaigned for Gibo Teodoro while maintaining a shadow organization to campaign for Manny Villar. Three days before the elections, Garin switched his support for the Liberal Party standard bearer when it became clear that he was going to win with a landslide margin.

Garin has also perfected the “art of money politics”, which is an avowed enemy of the Liberal Party. “It would be a betrayal of core party values if Garin is accepted into the party,” the local LP leaders said.

The local LP chapter also informed the President that during the 1986 snap Presidential elections, candidate Corazon C. Aquino got “zero” votes in the municipality of Guimbal where Garin’s wife, Ninfa, was the mayor. This is clear proof of Garin’s penchant for dirty politics and outright cheating just to serve his political masters, the local LP leaders said.

An acid test for the “tuwid na landas”

As I write this, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III is delivering a report on the accomplishments of his administration during the first 100 days in office. A phrase that underlines the central message of his report is the commitment to walk on a straight path, “maglalakad sa matuwid na daan.” The President is reiterating that corruption will have no place in his administration, and in fact, the big work he has done during the traditional honeymoon period was to untangle the mess left behind by his predecessor.

But as the President talks about his efforts to combat corruption, Ilonggos couldn’t help but wonder how Oscar Garin Sr. continues to occupy the position as Chairman of the Philippine Coconut Auhority (PCA). Garin’s name has long been associated with corruption and patronage politics, and the prolonged stay in the agency is sending a wrong signal to the people of Iloilo, and even to the coconut industry, that President Aquino is also making concessions for political reasons. The word is that Garin’s appointment has been extended until December 2010 if only to give time for the Liberal Party leaders to decide on a possible alliance with the Garins.

The local leadership of the Liberal Party has loudly said “no” to any alliance with the Garin family. Will the President ignore this stand in favor of befriending the Garins? The LP Iloilo fears that this will be a betrayal of the principles that propelled President Aquino to the highest post of the land. And his decision on Oscar Garin will be an acid test for his vow to walk only on a straight path.