GEARING UP FOR 2019? – Guv mum on meeting with 4 congressmen sans Rep. Garin

GOVERNOR Arthur Defensor Sr. is mum on the purpose and result of his meeting with all Iloilo congressmen except first district Rep. Richard Garin last March 19, 2017.

Defensor confirmed presence of Reps. Arcadio Gorriceta (2nd district), Arthur Defensor Jr. (3rd district), Ferjenel Biron (4th district), and Raul Tupas (5th district) in the meeting.

When asked why Rep. Garin was a no show, the governor refused to disclose any details of the gathering.

“Indi na kamo mamangkot sina,” he told the Capitol beat reporters on Mar. 20.

He also refused to divulge the purpose and result of the meeting.

Political observers and pundits speculated that the sit-down was a sort of political gathering in line with the 2019 elections.

Defensor is expected to retire from politics when his term ends in 2019.

There are also speculations that he will be replaced by his son, Rep. Defensor Jr., who is also set to complete his third 3-year term.

This early, observers said that the gubernatorial race will be a 3-cornered fight between Defensor Jr., Biron, and Garin.

Biron lost to Defensor in the 2013 elections and might take a shot at the governor’s office if political pundits are to be believed.

Garin, who is ending his third term as congressman, is also believed to be interested in the governor’s post.

But Defensor Sr. said it is still too early to discuss politics.

“Tama pa ni ka-temprano, sagad niyo pang-usisa ka pulitika kay ka-dugay pa ang election,” he said.

He said the one who will replace him will be chosen by the voters.

When asked if he will endorse his son, the governor remains elusive with his response.

“He expressed interest (to run). Amo lang na masabat ko sa inyo,” he said.

In a previous interview, Rep. Defensor said running for governor is one of his options.

In a text message to The Daily Guardian on Mar. 20, Rep. Defensor said the meeting was “nothing in particular.”

Biron said the meeting “was an invitation by Governor Art to know the plans of everyone.”

“I made known my plans to run for governor. No concrete discussions made,” he said in another text message to The Daily Guardian.

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