THE camp of fourth district Rep. Ferjenel Biron has struck right at the heart of the political base of Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr.
This, as village chiefs identified with Biron won the Liga ng mga Barangay elections in the towns of Badiangan, Janiuay, Maasin, and Pototan in the third district.
The third district, the political bailiwick of the Defensors, is also comprised of the municipalities of Bingawan, Cabatuan, Calinog, Mina, and Lambunao.
Biron has declared his intention to run for Iloilo governor in 2019 while Defensor is grooming his son, 3rd district Rep. Arthur Defensor Jr., as his successor.
In Badiangan, Ramon “Monet” Acena ran unopposed as Liga president.
Punong Barangay Manuel Moley F. Locsin got 34 votes to become Liga president of Janiuay.
In Maasin, Gerald Morales is the new Liga president after getting 33 votes.
Lorenzo Puda secured 23 votes to head the village chief’s association in vote-rich Pototan.
The newly elected Liga presidents will sit as ex-officio members of their respective municipal councils. They will also elect on July 30 the new president of the Liga provincial federation who will also sit as an ex-officio member of the Iloilo provincial board.
This early, Biron already has the support of two fellow congressmen – Arcadio Gorriceta of the second district and Raul Tupas of the fifth district. Their alliance is the result of the “gentlemen’s agreement” which, incidentally, Defensor initiated in March 2017.
But Defensor scuttled the agreement, which aimed to support a common gubernatorial bet in 2019, by transferring to the ruling PDP-Laban party.
The governor now finds himself in a “strange bedfellow” situation as the Garins of the first district already transferred to the administration party even before the Defensor exodus.
To recall, Defensor did not invite the Garins to the initial talks on the “gentlemen’s agreement.” He even told the press at that time that he had no obligation to invite the political titans from the first district.
Based on information from the Biron camp, they can count on the support of 29 out of the 43 municipal/city Liga presidents in Iloilo come July 30.
In the second district, Biron has the support of seven Liga heads and another ten in the fifth district.
His bailiwick in the fourth district has eight Liga presidents. Adding the Liga heads in the four third district towns, Biron has 29 votes for his anointed one for the provincial federation elections.
The result of the provincial Liga federation on July 30 will also change the complexion of the 13-member Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Based on the current political configuration, Biron already has six allies in the provincial board – Emmanuel R. Gallar of the third district, Domingo B. Oso and Bryant Paul Biron of the fourth district, Nielo C. Tupas and Jeneda C. Salcedo-Orendain of the fifth district, and Bianca Requinto of the Sangguniang Kabataan provincial federation.
If Biron’s candidate for the provincial Liga federation election wins, his allies in the board will number to seven, which is enough to control legislative matters, particularly the budget.