Top Stories

Javier ‘dynasty’ wins in Antique

PROCESS Foundation-Panay Inc.

SAN JOSE, Antique. — As in many parts of the country in the recent elections, Antique voters showed that being part of a political dynasty is not necessarily a stumbling block to victory.

Elected governor of the province was incumbent congressman Exequiel Javier (Lakas-Kampi). His son Paolo won as congressman.

Paolo defeated the incumbent governor, Salvacion Perez, who had served for three terms and was running for the House of Representatives. During the campaign, Perez had raised the issue of political dynasty and corruption against the Javiers.

Exequiel is the younger brother of the late governor Evelio Javier who was shot to death on Feb. 11, 1986, shortly before Corazon Aquino took power.

The rivalry between the Javiers and Perez go back a long way. Before being elected governor, Perez thrice ran to represent the lone district of Antique but was defeated by Exequiel each time.

Exequiel was elected governor of the province in 1998 after serving as congressman for three terms. He again won a seat in Congress in 2001.

Aside from accusing the Javiers of perpetuating a political dynasty, Perez also accused them of graft and corruption. During the campaign, the following accusations were levelled against the Javiers:

•  The alleged distribution of nonfunctioning mechanical dryers which were supposedly bought with the pork barrel fund of Exequiel Javier.
•  The alleged transfer of a rice mill from the municipality of Patnongon to Hamtic. The rice mill is managed by Grand Coop whose members are allegedly allies of Javier.
•  The funding of unfinished and allegedly nonexistent farm-to-market roads from Javier’s congressional fund.

But the Javiers also have accused Perez of corruption. They pointed to her involvement in the Antique Development Foundation (ADF), a nongovernment organization formed by the Zaldivar family, which took charge of the fertilizer fund. Perez, a member of the Zaldivar family, was chair of the ADF board.

Charging Perez and the foundation’s officers with violating the anti-graft law as well as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Tobias Javier said the respondents priced the  fertilizer 10 times its actual price.

Javier said a report by the Commission on Audit showed that the ADF bought 2,000 liters of liquid fertilizer with the brand Florida Green at P1,250 per liter for a total of P2.5 million.

An independent canvass done by COA , however, reportedly revealed the price at just P100 per liter. This means an overprice of P1,150 per liter or a total of P2.3 million.

Perez, however, branded the accusation as politically motivated. She said Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Tobias Javier who had filed the case is a nephew of Exequiel.

(For more information on winning political clans, click here.)