VIGAN: 'CHAVIT' SINGSON BIDS FOR COMEBACK AS ILOCOS SUR GOVERNOR

VIGAN CITY, January 8, 2004 (STAR) By Artemio Dumlao and Teddy Molina - Saying he still has unfinished plans for Ilocos Sur, a largely tobacco-growing province, former Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson is attempting a comeback in the May 10 polls.

Singson, who has lorded it over Ilocos Sur politics for over 30 years, is being challenged this time by Efren Rafanan, his erstwhile political adviser and now a local opposition stalwart.

Rafanan, running under the Kilusan ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP), did not join forces with lawyer Estrellita Cordero of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), making the gubernatorial race a three-cornered fight.

Earlier, Singson declared that he was making himself available for the senatorial slate of the administration party Lakas-Christian-Muslim Democrats (CMD).

In opting for a provincial comeback, he said he still has a mission to fulfill as governor, especially for the 14 upland municipalities of the province.

Singson’s running mate is incumbent Gov. Deogracias Victor Savellano, who will be challenged by the opposition’s Romeo Hidalgo.

Singson’s brother Jerry, the incumbent vice governor, heads the Lakas-CMD ticket for the provincial board. Singson is the ruling party’s regional and provincial head.

"I’m running for the judgment of the people," Singson said. "I hope the unfounded issues raised against me will rest after the polls."

Last month, 90 percent of Ilocos Sur mayors reached a consensus that they wanted Singson back as governor.

Meanwhile, in Ilocos Norte, the Marcos-Fariñas rivalry continues to sizzle as Raffy Fariñas, son of Laoag City Mayor Roger Fariñas, is challenging re-electionist Gov. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos.

Rep. Roque Ablan Jr., a supporter of the Marcoses, will face Eric Fariñas in the first district congressional race. Richard Chua of the Marcoses’ Kilusang Bagong Lipunan party has filed his candidacy for the second district seat which Rep. Imee Marcos presently occupies.

With Imee wavering in her senatorial bid, there are speculations that she will replace Chua, under the substitution rule, before the elections.

There are also speculations that former Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas might eventually replace either his brother Eric or nephew Raffy.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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