TWO Sangguniang Bayan members from different municipalities have confirmed their availability as candidates for president of the Philippine Councilors’ League (PCL), Iloilo chapter, on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. They are Dennis “DRV” Valencia of Tigbauan and Ramon “Monsik” Sullano of Sta. Barbara.
Whom will the majority of municipal councilors bless?
That is probably the wrong question to ask, simply because very few among the thousands of them personally know the contenders. Remember, 42 municipalities and one chartered city comprise the province of Iloilo.
As in the past PCL derbies, the two presidential candidates (or an upcoming third one) would woo influential politicians for support. At stake for the winner is an ex-officio seat at the Sangguniang Panglalawigan(SP) in the next three years.
The rumor spreading like wildfire today is that “DRV” Valencia enjoys the support of Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. as a matter of utang na loob; he had helped the latter win over then gubernatorial candidate Ferjenel “Ferj” Biron in Tigbauan. Incidentally, Valencia used to be identified with Biron and the Garins of the 1st District but turned coat for Defensor during the campaign period and topped the eight-man municipal council.
Sullano, on the other hand, counts on congressmen Michael Gorriceta and Braeden John Biron of the 2nd and 4th Districts, respectively, although the latter’s father and predecessor, Ferj, has yet to make his “more deserving” choice.
In the words of a print journalist, Jerry Taclino, “DRV’s coming out is seen by capitol observers as another possible turf war between the Defensor and Biron groups. In last May’s elections, Defensor defeated Biron in Tigbauan largely behind the backroom maneuvers of Dennis Valencia.”
Both Sullano and Valencia have personally confirmed on radio their availability for the presidency.
It would not be surprising for the elder Biron, however, having lost the gubernatorial race to Art Jr. in Gorriceta’s 2nd District, to shift his preference to a contender from the 1st District who could neutralize Valencia’s advantage thereat – most probably somebody who would be endorsed by Rep. Janet Garin and the rest of the Garin clan.
Otherwise, Dennis Valencia could hook most, if not all, of the 70 councilors of the 1st District. No wonder somebody else from the same district, a niece of Guimbal mayor Oscar Garin, had been floated as an alternative, but she has never confirmed it.
Then, too, there are incumbent regular members of the SP who would not relish the thought of having a second Valencia in the session hall. Dennis’ wife Renee is a second-termer SB member representing the 1st District and is no longer an ally of incumbent Vice Gov. Christine Garin.
To quote netizen Jerome Pabilona on Facebook, “Huyahuya man abi gamay SB Valencia. Ang asawa mo Board Member na. Hatagi man ang iban tsansa.”
In fairness, Valencia, has said on radio that he welcomes more choices in the PCL race.
What about SB member Neri Camiña? As the second runner-up to DRV in the last SB-Tigbauan election, he could be the right person to run in behalf of the Biron group.
When this writer ribbed Neri about it, he laughed off the idea. It’s good enough that he is “honorable” without having to go higher, he said, and that he is the weekly host of the radio program “Tribuna sang Banwa” on Aksyon Radyo every Sunday, 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Sponsored by the Free Legal Assistance for Seafarers and Heirs (FLASH), it tackles the legal problems of Filipino seamen. ([email protected]/PN)