Cong. Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr. Photo by Steven Poral & Jerese Anne Baylon-Penafiel

ILOILO – Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. is confident the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) will choose his son, Cong. Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr. of the 3rd District, as the ruling party’s candidate for governor in next year’s midterm election.

“After all, he is the only PDP-Laban member in the province to have voiced his interest in running for governor,” said the elder Defensor.

Defensor is in his third consecutive term as governor and previously said he would be quitting politics in 2019.

His son, on the other hand, is in his third consecutive term as congressman and is barred by law from seeking a fourth term.

PDP-Laban may announce the party’s official candidate for Iloilo governor in August, said Defensor.

The filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2019 midterm election is in October.

Defensor said party members are expected to support all of PDP-Laban’s candidates.

Late last year and early this year, local officials in the 1st and 3rd districts took their oaths as PDP-Laban members.

The Defensors previously belonged to the Liberal Party. The elder Defensor cited “practical politics” in deciding to join PDP-Laban of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The political career of his son was a big factor, the governor said.

“I’d be a hypocrite if I say my decision has nothing to do with politics. I told PDP-Laban my son is interested to become governor. I made the message clear,” said Defensor.

During a visit to Iloilo City on Aug. 13, 2017 House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez urged the Defensors to join PDP-Laban.

“If Toto wants to win an election, the administration party can greatly help him. That is practical politics. That is the reality of politics. We don’t have the money to buy votes,” explained the candid Defensor.

In all the elections both father and son participated, Defensor said, they relied on the people’s support and goodwill, their hard work and capacity to serve the public because  they did not have money.

Defensor said he never insisted nor asked to join PDP-Laban.

“Tandaan n’yo…waay ko nag-imbitar sang lawas ko. Gin imbitar lang ko ‘ya. Waay ko ginsulsol ang lawas ko sa partido,” he said./PN


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