Saturday, July 7, 2007

Political Dynasties in Occidental Mindoro -- the Old and the Budding Ones

Talk of political dynasties, Occidental Mindoro has its own. First, we should just have to mention that actually the roots of most if not majority of the present political leaders of the province and municipalities of Occidental Mindoro are descendants of the Abeleda clan. They either have Abeleda as their surname or their middle name. They are either immediate past or current mayors, vice-mayor, provincial board member(s), barangay captains. If they were sporting a different surname or middle name, they can readily trace their radix by affinity or sanguinity to the Abeleda.

This is explainable by the geography of Occidental Mindoro; and with it determining the social cohesive-ness especially of the towns in the north of the province, the first political powers came from the place where the Abeleda's settled as they moved from the Cavite and Batangas. Well, that's how we began. Unfortunately, we are yet to see the end of the political tunnel with the Abeleda's.

More unfortunately, these past elections we have seen the emergence of "new" soon-to-be political dynasties. We have Jose Villarosa, his son Voltaire Anthony (a.k.a., Bambi) lost in 1997/8 elections as board member of the second district and lost again for the mayoral position of Mamburao in 2007, his wife Ma. Amelita (the present Representative of the lone district of Occidental Mindoro). Can anyone, please, provide information as to how JTV and Sugar or Candy Villarosa are blood-related?

We have Godofredo Mintu, who has been the mayor of Sablayan for a long time already; his son, Edwin, despite his dismal performance as Municipal Councilor in 2004-2007, ranked first again in 2007; his wife's brother, Mr. Nicanor, who was a long time barangay captain of Sto. Nino, Sablayan, ran -- did he win? -- as councilor of Sablayan. It has been a rumor in Sablayan that Mintu's wife, Edna Nicanor Mintu, could be a contender for the post that he's going to vacate because of his age.

We have Sonia Pablo, the mayor of Rizal, Occidental Mindoro. Interestingly, his son who was serving as an errand boy in the House of Representative courtesy of Amelita Villarosa, the major patroness of Mayor Pablo, campaigned for a seat in provincial council and won. There is speculation that in elections of 2010, Sonny Pablo's going to take the place of his mother, who is serving out her last term.

Another troubling trend is observed in some other municipalities: in Paluan, when Abe Pangilinan was barred by term limits as mayor of his town, his wife took over and served a single term; after which Abe reclaimed the position. He is now serving his second term. In Abra de Ilog, after three terms of Mayor Meg Montenegro, his husband took over. A lawyer by profession, he is now running Abra de Ilog.

Second generation politicians there are also: the deceased Mayor Barrera of Magsaysay was a righteous man; he was replaced by his son, Marleo, whose background as a casino employee in the city did not help him direct his municipality along the right path for six years. The present mayor of Magsaysay is a son of a former mayor and former provincial board member. Councilor Vicky Villarosa of San Jose is daughter of a long-time governor of Occidental Mindoro -- Gov. Arsenio Villarosa, who can best explain why the province has been lagging behind in almost all aspect of development in comparison to its neighboring island provinces.

Then, we have the political accomodations that is observed in the cases of now Mayor Estoya and Vice Mayor Paulino of Calintaan. They must have been thinking that they actually own the political seats! So, to avert the possibility of being replaced, they switched positions..

These are unfortunate occasions and transpirations! Especially if seen from this point of view: is there really a dearth of qualified, new faces and breed of politicians in and for Occidental Mindoro?

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