By Herbert Vego
WORD has been going around that Vice-President Leni Robredo is coming to San Jose, Antique today to seek the support of the Antiqueños. As everybody knows, she is seeking the presidency, with Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan as her vice-presidential running mate and 11 senatorial candidates coming from various political parties. Their 12th Senate bet remains to be named.
As to who are her anointed candidates in the province and its 18 towns, there are none whom we know of. However, what we know is that opposing political camps are eager to be identified as her allies for selfish reasons. Her popularity could rub off on them.
Ironically, these are the same people who were allegedly trying hard to alienate her from her own political ally in the Liberal Party (LP), Atty. Abdiel “Ade” Santillan Fajardo. This has to be stressed because, although she wrote “independent” on her certificate of candidacy to win adherents from other parties, she remains an LP member. The party’s president is her running mate, Kiko Pangilinan.
Fajardo’s opponents, Paolo Javier and Antonio Agapito “AA” Legarda, belong to the PDP-Laban and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) parties, respectively.
Of the three House rivals, only Fajardo could speak fluent Kinara-ay. He’s the only true “tumandok” born in Antique.
Javier had already been congressman for three terms while Legarda, a political neophyte, is said to be a businessman whose only “proof” of residency in Antique is being a brother of outgoing Congresswoman Loren Legarda, who is now re-running for senator.
Since Loren is a senatorial candidate under the “uniteam” of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos for president and Sara Duterte-Carpio for vice-president, it would be awkward for her brother AA to forge alliance with VP Leni.
Both Loren and Antonio are no native Antiqueños but claim to being so by name-dropping their Antiqueña great grandma from the Gella clan.
As this writer stated in a past column, Loren’s decision to abandon her constituency in order to run for senator on May 9, 2022 unmasks her insincerity. It is now obvious that she had merely made panakip-butas of the province when she exhausted her consecutive Senate terms to run for congresswoman in 2019.
And by urging her brother “AA” to run and replace her in the House of Representatives, she is attempting to launch a new political dynasty.
Incidentally, I remember that when Ade Fajardo took his oath of office at the Supreme Court as national president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) president in 2017, Senator Legarda was one of those well-wishers in attendance.
She congratulated him for being the first Antiqueño to have been elected to the top national position at the IBP. He had previously been president of IBP’s Antque chapter, IBP governor for Western Visayas, and IBP national executive vice-president.
Fajardo, the eldest son of the late Panay News founder Daniel Fajardo and the former Maria Santillan, earned his Economics and Law degrees in the University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman. He served as legal assistant of the late Senator Blas Fajardo Ople, assistant director general, board secretary, and compliance officer at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP). He is currently a partner in the Manila-based law firm of Solis, Medina, Fajardo & Malilong.
Fajardo is best remembered for having filed a criminal and administrative complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against the three Caloocan City policemen who murdered 17-year student Kian Loyd delos Santos on August 16, 2017. The police had falsely accused the teenager of illegal drug pushing.
A Philippine court convicted the police officers and sentenced them to 40 years in prison without eligibility for parole.