SOUTHERN COMFORT: Crumbling houseBy Edwin Espejo Mar 30, 2009 12:00AM UTC
THERE’S trouble in the Acharon house.
No, it is not on fire but it might just tear down itself into shambles now that the city mayor’s political patrons have reportedly set their sight at no less than the seat of the city government.
Mayor Pedro ‘Jun’ Acharon Jr. is on his third and last term and he may have to seek the congressional seat now being occupied by Darlene Magnolia Antonino-Custodio who will also take a bow from the House of Representative.
Switching chairs may not be that troublesome for both Jun and Darlene.
The catch is, Jun’s younger brother Loreto (Tonton) wants the mantle of being the city’s top executive passed unto his self as a way of consolidating their clan’s hold to political power in the city.
Not only that, Tonton has made it clear that he is aligning himself with Manny Pacquiao who once ran but lost against the mighty Antonino-Acharon political machinery.
A lawyer, Tonton is the maverick in the family whose father, half-brother and brother – at one time or another – served as mayor of General Santos when it was still a town of South Cotabato, when it became a chartered city, and at present.
Since becoming a chartered city in 1968, the city got to elect only four mayors, two of them were Acharons (the other was Antonio) and they both served a combined 27 years of the 41 years of its existence as a city.
Only Rosalita Nuñez and Adelbert Antonino, who both served two broken terms, broke that Acharon stranglehold since 1968.
According to sources, the Acharon house is bitterly divided over who to throw their support should Tonton make good his promise to run for the mayoral seat even if it meant going up against Darlene who is expected to be anointed by her father Adelbert.
Tonton has reportedly ignored ‘invitations’ from Adelbert to see the latter and clarify his plans, not once or twice but several times over.
Adelbert allegedly once got piqued by Tonton when the younger brother of Jun organized their own political party immediately after Jun was elected mayor in 2001.
Tonton, then already harboring political ambitions, smarted from the rebuke and, has since distanced himself from everything that has got to do with local governance, resigning himself to private practice. Once or twice, however, he tried to float the idea of running against Darlene in the past two elections only to shelve the plan at the last minute.
This time around, there is reportedly no stopping Tonton. Even the city mayor reportedly could not sway his younger brother from pursuing his ambitions.
The rumor mill is that majority of the members of the Kaliwat clan (Acharon-Cahilsot-Busgano) is going with Tonton which will create a terrible personal and political headache for Jun if he sticks with the Antonino.
The situation could turn for worse if Pacquiao changes his mind again and once more run for Congress in the first district of South Cotabato.
That will put Tonton and Jun in an awkward position of campaigning and going against each other’s throat.
That should be both fun and tragic to watch.