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MANILA – Who from the Garin family of Iloilo’s 1st District will run for governor?

Not Rep. Sharon Garin of the AAMBIS-Owa party-list. She answered with a firm “No” when asked.

Her elder brother Richard, congressman of the 1st District, said early this month that any of the Garin siblings could run for governor of Iloilo in 2019. Sister Christine is the incumbent vice governor while he himself served the post prior to his election to the House of Representatives in 2013.

“I think many people in the province are very much qualified (to run for governor). Si (Cong. Ferjenel) Biron (of the 4th District), (Cong. Arthur) Defensor (Jr. of the 3rd District), (Cong. Arcadio) Cadio (Gorriceta of the 2nd District), (Cong. Raul) Boboy (Tupas of the 5th District), Richard…pati mga barangay kapitan,” said Congresswoman Garin.

So what will the House Deputy Speaker representing party-list groups do next after her term ends in 2019?

“Padakuon ko lang akon bata (I’m going to raise my child),” she told Panay News.

Garin, now on her third consecutive term in Congress, said under the Constitution, “anybody” can run for governor but for her, “I am a mother first and foremost. Hindi na ako mapadalagan.

The law bars Garin from seeking a fourth consecutive term in the House.

She did not see anything unusual in the non-invitation of her brother to the March 18 and 29 meetings initiated by Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. with the four other Iloilo congressmen.

She said Defensor had the “prerogative” to invite or not invite her elder brother.

“I don’t want to interpret it in any way. Dugay pa man ang eleksyon. Trabaho kita anay siguro,” she said.

Defensor confirmed that his congressman son and Biron expressed interest to run for governor in 2019 and that the four Ilonggo House members agreed to field a common candidate.

According to the congresswoman, it was “too early” to talk about future political plans.

“We still have two years until the next elections,” the party-list congresswoman told Panay News, and that public servants have to use these years to deliver public service.

Garin stressed the need to “improve Iloilo first.”

“Kun intrahan naton politika subong, ma-suffer mga Ilonggos. (Politics) has its own time but not now,” she said.

Elder brother Richard told Panay News in an interview that, “Kun public servant ka, actually, you are open to all (political possibilities).”

He said Sharon and Christine were “very much qualified” to run for governor.

“Ako two-term congressman subong. We cannot discount the possibilities,” he said.

Their parents are also active in local politics. Father Oscar served as congressman and now mayor of Guimbal while mother Ninfa, former congresswoman and member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, is currently the mayor of San Joaquin.

Richard is the only member of the House of Representatives from Iloilo who is a member of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

He sought reelection under the Liberal Party last year. He joined PDP-Laban several weeks after. His vice governor sister ran under the National Unity Party, an affiliate of the Liberal Party./PN

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