Efren Rafanan

Why Singson is for Villar

Why Singson is for Villar
Philippine Daily Inquirer

VIGAN CITY—What made Ilocos Sur political kingpin Luis “Chavit” Singson abandon the administration party’s ship?

Singson said it was out of gratitude to Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., who supported the impeachment case against deposed President Joseph Estrada, that he shifted his support for the Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer.

“He was one of the key persons who helped us in the impeachment [case] against Erap (Estrada). I am just paying a debt of gratitude,” Singson, who is running for governor of Ilocos Sur, told the Inquirer on Friday.

Villar, who was Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2000, was instrumental in transmitting the impeachment case against Estrada to the Senate.

Singson, however, clarified that while he supports Villar’s bid to become the country’s next president, he has not joined the NP.

‘Lakas loob’

“‘Lakas loob’ na lang ang partido ko ngayon (I am now running solely on a party of guts),” Singson said, playing on the name of his erstwhile party, Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

Last week, Singson announced that he had resigned from the administration party and would not support the bid of its standard-bearer, Gilbert Teodoro Jr.

He said his withdrawal of support for Teodoro was due to a personal reason.

Singson said he was told that his move angered President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“My friends relayed to me that the President got mad when I [supported] Villar. But that’s it. The thing is [Ms Arroyo] is not the one running anyway,” he said.

Singson said he and Ms Arroyo have not talked since he left the party.

His son, reelectionist Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson, and his ally, Gov. Deogracias Victor Savellano, are still with the administration party. Savellano is now running as Singson’s vice governor.

“It will be up to them if they will stick with Lakas-Kampi. I’ll respect their decision,” Singson said.

Singson is facing his former ally, former Ilocos Sur Board Member Efren Rafanan of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, in the gubernatorial race. Leoncio Balbin Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon