Ilocos Sur politics still under spell of Chavit Singson


GOV. LUIS “Chavit” Singson is bowing out of politics but his influence in Ilocos Sur politics remains.

The first rule in the campaign of “Team Ryan,” led by Ilocos Sur gubernatorial candidate Ryan Luis Singson, is: No one speaks for more than two minutes.

The team moves in two groups—one, composed of candidates in the municipality, goes first and then leaves when the other, composed of candidates for board members and higher posts, arrives.

There are two main reasons behind this arrangement. First, they have to cover at least eight caucuses a day and their cars use up so much space in the venues, which are usually basketball courts or barangay halls.

For those in the first group, the routines are easy. They would talk about their programs and exit. For the second, the program host would be—as usual—Vice Gov. Deogracias Savellano, who is seeking reelection against former Board Member Efren Rafanan.

The congressional candidates are former Rep. Ronald Singson (first district), who did not serve his term starting 2010 when he was jailed and convicted for illegal drugs possession in Hong Kong, and Deputy Speaker Eric Singson (second district). Ryan, the incumbent congressman in the first district, is running for governor this time.

Ronald and Ryan are sons of political kingpin Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson, while Eric is the latter’s cousin. Ronald’s opponent is lawyer Bertrand Baterina, while Ryan’s is Mayor Roque Verzosa Jr. of Tagudin town. Of the three, Eric would have the easiest ride, running against neophyte Henry Capela.

As part of the Team Ryan routine, the board members would speak first. Then, Savellano would have old women shout, “Ryaaaaan!” The one who shouted the longest would get a prize. The “Ryan Dancers” would perform a hip-hop number while displaying the gubernatorial candidate’s banners.

After this, Savellano would call out to the audience, mostly housewives and bored teenagers, to tell him who could be missing. They would shout “Dina, Dina, Dina!” and that would be a cue for movie actress Dina Bonnevie, who recently married the vice governor, to come out of the official’s car.

ACTRESS Dina Bonnevie, wife of Ilocos Sur Vice Gov. Deogracias Victor Savellano, has become one of the campaign attractions in the province. PHOTOS BY LEONCIO BALBIN JR.

Bonnevie would dish out her memorized spiel about voting for her husband and the rest of Team Ryan. Eric would then have a little comic banter with Bonnevie. After that, Savellano and Ryan would deliver their speeches.

Exit Team Ryan. The villagers would then have packed lunch or merienda of miki (noodle soup with achuete and minced longganiza or bagnet).

Missing Chavit

Actually it is not actress Bonnevie who is missing in the program but Chavit Singson. He has decided to take a leave from politics although Ilocos Sur politics still revolves around him.

Rafanan, his fiercest critic, used to be his apologist until the late 1990s when the former tricycle driver-turned-Bombo Radyo commentator-turned-board member ran against Chavit. Verzosa, the LP candidate, is a former friend and ally of Chavit’s.

Even months before the filing of candidacy, Chavit and Eric would be holding meetings with the mayors and their rivals to get their consensus so there would be fewer competitions in the province, if possible. Which is why Ilocos Sur, which has 32 towns and two cities, has the biggest number of unopposed mayoral candidates at 18 in the Ilocos region.


The unopposed candidates are Eva Marie Medina (Chavit’s niece) of Vigan City, Dr. Ericson Singson (Eric’s son) of Candon City, Mar Ruel Sumabat of Alilem, Sammy Boy Parilla of Bantay, Germelina Goulart (Chavit’s sister) of Caoayan, Benjamin Maggay of Cervantes, Jessie Balingsat of Galimuyod, Clifford Patil-ao of Quirino, Leopoldo Gironella Jr. of Salcedo, Chester Elaydo of San Esteban, JJ Bueno of Santa, Mark Purisima of San Ildefonso, Teresita Valle of Sta. Cruz, Joseph Tabanda III of San Vicente, Amado Tadena of Sto. Domingo, Josefino Miranda of Santiago, Aries Gaerlan of Sigay and Fernando Quiton of Sugpon.

In Candon, reelectionist Vice Mayor Alfonso Singson (Eric’s brother) and all city councilors are unopposed. This is also the same case in San Vicente.

While those outside the province view this large number of unopposed as a failure of democracy, the mayoral candidates see it as a sign of peace and unity, so much so that when the Commission on Elections declared Ilocos Sur an area of concern, almost all mayors signed a resolution against the move.

Almost all races in Ilocos Sur are all over but the counting, but pundits see the Savellano-Rafanan battle as the only race worth watching.

Will it be the star power of Dina or the start of Rambo’s tour of duty?

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • marcos_hitler_diktador_tuta

    No wonder Ilocos Sur is forever mired into poverty.

    • Metalocalypse

      Hindi po kami mahihirap. Karamihan sa amin nasa Hawaii at California

      • Noa

        Deserted na ang Ilocos Sur, wala kasing pagkakitaan, mga natitira na may kaya tulad ng mga politico kamag anak ni lolong. Mga taga Hawaii at California pasyal naman kayo sa provincia natin, baka may magawa kayo na umunlad ang karamihan.

      • marcos_hitler_diktador_tuta

        Kaya ka nga pumunta diyan dahil sa kahirapan ng buhay sa Ilocos Sur. Sa palagay ko hindi ka mangingibang bansa kung di ka naghihirap sa sarili mong bayan.

      • Metalocalypse

        Kaya nandito kami sa Amerika dahil masisipag kami at gusto naming umasenso. The Philippines in general is a poor country kaya wag mong sabihin na mired into poverty ang Ilocos. The whole country is mired into poverty. Ikaw dahil tamad ka kaya hanggang Pilipinas ka na lang. Enjoy your minimum wage boy.

      • marcos_hitler_diktador_tuta

        Huwag mo akong tawaging boy. Kahit dito lang ako sa Pilipinas, I have followed Carlos Bulosan’s trails and been to thirty other countries. U?

      • Metalocalypse

        I am a proud Filipino-American of Ilocano blood like Carlos Bulosan. I live in a nice house and drive my own car here in Stockton California with my own vacation house in Santa, Ilocos Sur. Ikaw sino ka?

      • marcos_hitler_diktador_tuta

        You only live in that nice house, you dont own it. Your car? Yes you might own it but its old isnt it? Bulosan was in Stockton, an agricultural community then and I happen to be there trailing my uncle’s travels. Who am I? It’s nanya.

      • Metalocalypse

        Inggit ka lang dahil ikaw talaga ang mired into poverty kaya sa pag cocomment na lang sa internet ang hobby mo. poor boy

      • Metalocalypse

        In case u are a relative of Bulosan you might as well drain your ilokano blood from your veins for you do not deserve to be one of us. You do not deserve the blood of hard workers and great leaders like Bulosan and Marcos. Shame on you bumhead

      • marcos_hitler_diktador_tuta

        You can call me poor, but I do not at all envy your life in America. Nagkaroon ka lang ng konting property, you consider yourself rich na. Mahiya ka sa balat mo. You work your butt off I bet. Baka nasa welfare ka pa.

        Marcos, a great leader? Like the Singsons, sa Ilocos lang sila “great”. For the rest of the Philippines, they are corrupt to the bones.

  • AllaMo

    More like under the heel of the heel.

  • Pio Pusli

    you can find the stupid majority of electors in pinas, but the one in ilocos region is the stupidest of them all.

    • teraytaray

      I’m afraid, I agree with you. Our kababayans from that region are fiercely clannish and loyal which could be either way, good or bad.

  • $14334231

    mention the name singson and the stupid voters of ilocos sur starts to tremble….but then again, who wouldn’t?….baka pulutin ka sa kangkongan na hindi na humihinga…..

  • darsmith

    Chanced upon the Thug in a supermarket with his army of bodyguards. Want to spit on his face but that would have been suicide.

  • John Doe

    I’ll go for the OUTSTANDING Mayor from Tagudin! Go VERZOSA!

  • Yet Jua

    ganoon naman ang mga Ilokono mula pa dati,sunod-sunoran…nothing new..ilocos sur kay chavit singson,ilocos norte kay marcos or farinas,cagayan kay enrile at iba pang kilalang pamilya tulad nang ablan….baka sila na nga siguro ang nagmaymay-ari nang ilocandia at nagiging political dynasty.

  • Barak_O

    north korean missile should land in ilocos sur

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