OpinionsThe undefeated Governor, part 2

The undefeated Governor, part 2

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[Part 2]

The 1961 presidential election was a turning point for the Liberal Party in national politics, as it paved the way for the new ruling party, following its victory of their standard bearer, Diosdado Macapagal. Macapagal then defeated incumbent President Carlos P. Garcia. It was undoubtedly a remarkable feat.

In Negros Oriental, however, the Province was still being dominated by the Nacionalistas, with Mariano Perdices and Lorenzo Teves as party heads.

Subsequently in the 1963 senatorial and local elections, Perdices was challenged by another wealthy and influential politician from Bais – Genaro Goñi. Like Don Serafin Teves, Goñi was an haciendero, and belonged to a well-to-do family.

For the 1963 elections, it was much more difficult for Perdices because the people in power were the the Liberals. It has been said that the Liberals did everything they could just to topple Perdices and the Nacionalista Party in Negros Oriental.

One way of doing so that time was through the Emergency Employment Administration. Months before the election, the EEA, headed by a certain Col. Eleuterio Adevoso, hired and gave jobs to a surfeit of individuals – who, it was implied, would be voting for the Liberal Party standard bearer in Negros Oriental.

Suffice it to say, Perdices was unfazed by this action; it didn’t make him uneasy, it simply motivated him to do better, and hold on to, or undergird, his position as governor of Negros Oriental.

During the counting of the votes, the partial results showed that Goñi was leading. Eventually however, after all the other precincts were counted, Perdices’ votes started to surge. In the end, Perdices won the 1963 elections, but it was not an easy one.

His victory clearly showed that he was still well-loved and trusted by most of his constituents. In addition, his Nacionalista running mate, William “Billy” Villegas, also won as vice governor against the Liberal candidate, Herminio “Meniong” Teves.

It was basically a Nacionalista sweep in the Province, even in the capital City of Dumaguete where Mayor Jo Pro Teves retained his position.

The last two re-election bids of Perdices were not as challenging as the first two. Perhaps this was because the Nacionalista Party had once again reclaimed the presidency, as Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was elected president in 1965.

Firstly, the Nacionalista Party dominated the 1967 election. It was a “slaughter” by the Nacionalistas against the Liberals as one journalist recalled.

In the partial results of the gubernatorial race, the Nacionalistas won 43 provinces, as opposed to the seven provinces of the Liberals. Moreover, in the mayoralty race (with 48 cities all over the country), the Nacionalistas were able to win 22 of them, as opposed to the LPs meager seven wins.

In Negros Oriental, Perdices, who ran again for governor [for his third term], promised to continue his programs and to maintain the “honesty and efficiency” of his administration in Negros Oriental.

Nevertheless, his opponent in the 1967 local election was Atty. Miguel “Mike” Romero, a young and promising politician who later on became congressman of the 2nd District. The result of the 1967 election was easily predicted, with Perdices – himself confident and undeterred – as the victor.Even Romero himself – a friend of Perdices – never expected he could win against Perdices, as he was supposedly just planning to run for Dumaguete councilor but that he was forced by the Liberal Party in Negros Oriental to run for governor.

In the 1971 national and local elections, a year before Marcos Sr., declared Martial Law, the Liberal Party to some extent improved its performance at the national level.

In Negros Oriental, however, the Nacionalistas, under the guidance of the inseparable leadership tandem of Perdices and Lorenzo Teves, continued to dominate the local political arena.

Perdices’ opponent for governor in 1971 was his feisty critic, Provincial Prosecutor Florencio “Dodong” Beltran.

Like in the previous election, however, Perdices’ opponent did not have the same machinery, let alone trust and confidence of the Oriental Negrenses to make him a formidable threat against Perdices.

As expected, the election ended up with a landslide victory in favor of Perdices.

It was apparent, given their strained relations with Perdices, that Beltran’s candidacy can be more or less likened to a “protest” candidacy.

In the end, Tsila Perdices consistently won all his bids for re-election, and remained undefeated all throughout his political career as governor of Negros Oriental. This remarkable achievement should be remembered by the Oriental Negrenses today.

Some might ask, why did he remain undefeated? What made him so popular among the people?

I will attempt to answer these questions in my succeeding articles here. Suffice it to say, that one should look into Perdices’ track record, and the genuine things he did for his constituents to really understand why he was so beloved by the people of Negros Oriental, especially the Dumagueteños.

More on this in my next column.

___________________________________

Author’s email: JJAbulado@norsu.edu.ph

 

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