CITY OF SANTIAGO: As the classic example of a “political dynasty-in-the-making” in the fourth congressional district of Isabela hounds the political system, electorates here are in a quandary: Whom to vote?
The issue cropped up as one of the candidates for the congressional post, being held for three consecutive terms by Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao, is no less than his wife – Ma. Lourdes Rivilla-Aggabao.
Rivilla-Aggabao allegedly holds dual citizenship and owns a fleet of real properties in the United States.
Ironically, the Aggabaos do not own any property in the district they represent.
Local government records showed that the Aggabaos did not pay any taxes in the fourth district or even anywhere in Isabela province. A certificate of no tax payment and a certificate of no real property for the Aggabao couple were obtained.
They, however, own residential and other properties at 309 Cadena de Amor and at 105 Pili Drive, both in Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City.
The move of the Aggabaos, according to observers, can be viewed based on the recent statement of Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Veritas Servant Leadership Halalan Forum 2016. He said the essence of stewardship is that of being an ardent listener and provider of the needs of the poor and the needy and not putting their own interest first.
The half-hearted service of political dynasties barely addresses the concerns, rights and needs of villagers and shuns other people who are capable of leading in public service.
No less than Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, in a 2011 ruling, defined political dynasties (Navarro v. Ermita, GR No. 180050, April 12, 2011) as a “phenomenon that concentrates political power and public resources within the control of a few families whose members alternately hold elective offices, deftly skirting term limits.”
Former senator Heherson Alvarez, father of City Councilor Hexilon Alvarez, who is also running for Isabela’s fourth district, filed a disqualification case against Rivilla-Aggabao on April 26 after records showed that she was married to Giorgidi Aggabao on July 4, 1987 at Stateline, Nevada, United States of America, as shown in the Nevada Marriage Index 1956-2005 from the US Department of Public Record Index.
“Being an American citizen, or at least a dual citizenship status, Rivilla-Aggabao is not qualified to run for public office as representative of the fourth district in Isabela,” Alvarez added.
“Moreover, her husband (Rep. Aggabao) wants to perpetuate a dynasty, for he has been holding the seat for three consecutive terms as the law prohibits him to run for the fourth time,” Alvarez noted.
Alvarez revealed that Rivilla-Aggabao made “misrepresentations” before Comelec when she claimed to have been staying in the fourth district of Isabela for 28 years and 11 months prior to the filing of her candidacy and that she has not been a permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country.
US Records also showed that the Aggabaos own properties in Moraga and San Francisco, California in the US.
The Aggabaos could not be reached for comment as of this writing.