In search of a king

THE AGING king in the kingdom by the river is in search of someone he could trust to bequeath the throne he has been holding on for a long period.

He has done so much for the province and his people for generation. Give him the credit for whatever marvelous achievements he has done. The old man deserves all the accolades. After all he’ll be leaving the castle in good shape after it was partly gutted by fire in the last years of his first term.

It was in this unfortunate event that the king was captured by a still camera amidst the blazing old capitol background. Surrounded by fire trucks from the city and various municipalities of the province, he was in a desperate attempt to put out the fire.

It was an iconic shot. It became a symbol of his unwavering love for his people and the province of Iloilo. No one could question his integrity. Putting his life at risk to save whatever he could was no ordinary task. It defined his wholeness.

It was his fervent wish to put up a new castle before he stepped down from his throne. He conceived a plan to build a new one out from the rubbles. Time was running out as he was about to finish his nine-year term as governor. This, however, didn’t stop him from putting everything in place, even the details of how the new structure would be built.

When the late Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr. took over the helm, it became his priority to build the new castle exactly as what his predecessor wanted it. True enough the new castle was a work of art, perceived to be as the “Capitol of the Future.”

It was a legacy attributed to two political titans, Arthur and Niel. Give it to them. Both are achievers. They also have something in common. They distaste Brutus-like acts to promote each other’s ego. Sad to say, politics intervened which for a while; a relationship bonded for years had alienated the two. It was inevitable; political survival played a very crucial factor in their longevity. While one has to give in, the other has to give up. No matter how painful and frustrating the show must go on. Well, this is politics, folks.

Unknown to many my association with Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. is purely professional. I used to frequent his office for interviews during mid-‘90s as a beat reporter. I found him very accommodating; he never ran out of issues to talk about. On several occasions he allowed me to tag along with him to various towns to visit projects funded by the province which mostly focused on the agricultural aspect such as rice production, animal raising and other farm-based utilities. I was privileged to join his caravan going back to the city just in time for my deadline.

In the city members of the local media would swarm freely to join his meetings with foreign dignitaries. It was my personal observation that the governor is fond of Hotel del Rio as his venue for diplomatic, political and other social events beneficial to the province.

His second political comeback as governor, completing another nine-year term, is about to end months from now.

Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. has finally reached the end of his rope as far as public service is concerned. I would say he is an accomplished public servant.

Searching for another king to pass on his throne could yet be the biggest challenge in his political career.

May, as it is so, let the people decide. (


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