THE Javiers have been lording it over in Antique since the fall of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. Former Congressman and former Governor Exequiel “BoyEx” Javier is the number one by-product and beneficiary of the revolutionary change in the national administration from Marcos to Aquino. The assassination of his brother, Evelio, was the significant event that catapulted him to political power in Antique, which to this day remains one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines.
BoyEx lost his gubernatorial bid in 2016 to eventual winner Rhodora Cadiao but his son Paolo survived and is now enjoying his third and final term as congressman of Antique.
In the next elections in 2019, we will know whether Antique will see the last of the Javiers. Reports say that Paolo will run for governor while BoyEx will run again for the lone congressional seat of the province. Ano may nalipatan pa siya after ruling Antique for three decades?
The Javiers are facing formidable foes in 2019. Incumbent governor Cadiao is no pushover. Thus far, she has managed to skirt controversies what with the able assistance of retired RTC Judge now Provincial Administrator Nery Duremdes. In the congressional field, reports are rife that graduating Senator Loren Legarda is bent on running for representative of Antique. The unexpected avalanche of projects in Antique is lending credence to these reports. As chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, Legarda is in the best position to allocate funds for pet projects particularly infrastructures.
Which is actually good for Antique, a poor province starving for more nationally-funded developments.
The prospects of Legarda running for Antique representative are sending shivers down the spine of the Javiers. The erstwhile unbeatable political family knows that Legarda is a celebrity having made herself a household name during her media days at ABS-CBN. As senator of the republic, Legarda has exemplified herself in Senate debates and has always made it known that she is an Antiquena. And now these billions in infra projects which will surely galvanize her drawing power and may convert her celebrity status and popularity into votes.
Knowing the “kalakaran” at the Department of Public Works and Highways particularly at the Antique Engineering District Office, Congressman Paolo has all the good reasons to stomp his foot down on District Engr. Arnel Rebeta to frustrate the Legarda projects or “reroute” whatever proceeds the Legarda projects might generate. But we are not insinuating that Engr. Rebeta committed suicide (according to the police) because of the alleged “pressure” exerted by Congressman Javier.
Meanwhile, DPWH sources say that over a billion in Legarda projects has already been bid out and awarded to winning contractors. And billions more are coming to the Binirayan shores. Antiquenos have a beautiful problem in the beautiful ambitions of the beautiful Loren Legarda. Kun ako taga Antique, malipay gid takon. At least, Antique as a poor province might see a new breed of leaders with new yet progressive and dynamic ideas.
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