Chavit Singson

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Luis “Chavit” Crisologo Singson (born June 21, 1941) is a Filipino politician. He is the former Governor of the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines.

Contents

Background

Family History

The Singsons started to put down roots in Vigan in the 17th century. Joaquín Ayco, a merchant from Oasay, China, married a Chinese mestiza, Rosa Songnio, a Vigan native. Singson's forefathers ruled Vigan as far back as the 1800s. The post of gobernadorcillo was held by Don León Singson in 1846, Don Estanislao Singson in 1852, Don Domingo Singson in 1854, Don Tomás Singson in 1858 and Don Jose Singson in 1877.

Biography and career

Early life

Governor Singson was born on June 21, 1941 in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. He is the second among the seven children of José Singson and Caridad Crisólogo. His other siblings, aside from Titong, are Bernardo (deceased), Fernando (Dodoy), Maria Livia (Honeygirl), Jerry, Germelina (Germy) and Bonito.

Singson's growing-up years were spent in Vigan, where he led a normal childhood "with a very liberal upbringing and a lot of opportunity to play and make friends." He apparently got his own fondness for mahjong from his mother who loved the game. Despite their prominence in the province, it was not always a life of wealth for the Singsons. At one point, the family had to sell their appliances. Singson learned how difficult life was without money. That taught him to be street-smart. Singson's character was strengthened especially with the seemingly unending family squabbles and political dynasties of his youth, the tobacco industry in Ilocos and how the Singsons got into tobacco growing and trading. The family brought the first redrying plant to Ilocos in the '60s.

Career

Gov. Singson started out as a businessman. He then entered politics, becoming a political kingpin in his province for 28 years, and later playing a significant role in Philippine politics and democracy. He is currently the Governor of Ilocos Sur <ref> Singson, Luis Personal Information www.isite.ph Retrieved 4 December, 2006. </ref> a position he has held for 22 years.

Singson currently lives in his home, called Baluarte, in Vigan City. He is a former close friend and gambling and drinking buddy of President Estrada. Singson was married to Evelyn Crisologo on May 3, 1962. Now separated, the couple had seven children. In addition, Singson has five children with current live-in partner Rachel 'Che' Tiongson.

Significant roles

Role in EDSA II

Singson is known to have started EDSA II, when in October 2000 he alleged he gave President Joseph Estrada Php 400 million as payoff from illegal gambling profits. On October 16, 2000, he accused the Estrada, as the "lord of all jueteng lords" for receiving 5 million pesos protection money from jueteng every month during his term of presidency. He also accused the president of receiving kickbacks from 170 million pesos excise tobacco tax. <ref>The Story of EDSA 2 members.tripod.com Retrieved 4 December, 2006.</ref> This is equivalent to taking more than US $10 million in bribes from illegal gambling lords as well as another US$3.4 million in tobacco tax kickbacks. <ref>Arroyo sworn in as president of Philippines CNN.com Retrieved 4 December, 2006.</ref>

His exposé ultimately led to the impeachment trial after he accused the President of receiving over P400 million in bribes from jueteng operators. First called to the witness stand by the prosecution on Dec. 13 and continued his testimony on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15. Testified that Mr. Estrada, codenamed A.S. or Asyong Salonga in the jueteng ledger, regularly received a cut from jueteng collections. Claimed that Mr. Estrada would receive a bigger percentage from Bingo 2-Ball, a legal, modified version of jueteng that was the brainchild of the President's friend and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. consultant Charlie "Atong" Ang. Testified that Ang, presidential adviser for Bicol affairs Anton Prieto and former Estrada political adviser Jaime Policarpio regularly received jueteng collections, and that Senators John Osmeña and Teresa Aquino-Oreta received P1 million each as balato from mahjong. Also claimed that he issued a check to beauty queen Joelle Pelaez for and on behalf of Mr. Estrada. Called back to the stand on Dec. 19 as a witness for Article 2 or the impeachment charge of graft and corruption.

After more than 30 years of friendship, Gov. Luis Singson leveled the graft-related accusations that led to the impeachment charges that have been filed against Philippine President Joseph Estrada. He charged that President Joseph Estrada, several members of his family, and his friends were benefiting from jueteng.

Singson said that he had delivered more than 400 million pesos ($8 million) in gambling payoffs from jueteng to Estrada. The governor said he began collecting and delivering the money in 1998, a few months after Estrada was elected president. He added that he participated in the payoffs until August 2000, and that the money drops were made in Estrada's office. He also said Estrada had received 130 million pesos ($2.6 million) from provincial tax revenues.

Estrada was put under investigation, but on 16 January 2001, a key piece of evidence was blocked in court, leading to protests in Manila and other major cities backing to vice president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Estrada's government quickly fell.

Role in the Hello Garci scandal

In 2005, during the nation's Presidential Hello Garci scandal, Singson claimed he had a tape of a conversation where the jailed president Joseph Estrada stated he was planning to return to power by disposing whoever would lead the transitional government after current president Gloria Arroyo resigns.

Role in the Hostage Situation

It is clearly seen, during the hostage video that Singson is the only person who was able to help Ducat. Other senators and politians tried to help, but it is solely Singson who was able to put the hijacking to an end. If not for Singson, the "dud" grenade would have exploded.

Trivia

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  • Singson is frequently seen at Manny Pacquiao's boxing matches, even going inside the ring after Pacquiao's victories. He was at the most recent Pacquiao's fight against Erik Morales, where he was seen waving to the crowd after Pacquiao's bout.
  • He also frequently attends matches of fellow Ilocano Brian Viloria.

External links

References

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Additional Reading

  • Limpe, Linda C.The 9 Lives of Luis "Chavit" Singson, Forsight Books, 2003.

External link

Original Source

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