THE KING OF THE NORTH
Narvacan, Ilocos Sur Mayor Chavit Singson’s style
of governance is marked by the merger of strength
and strictness. What are his plans now?
BY KRISTEL DACUMOS LAGORZA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY IVAN LLANETA
What we need now is a benevolent dictator,” states 78-year-old Luis “Chavit” Singson with a deliberate nod.
It’s a controversial statement from an equally controversial figure. But he is unafraid of sharing his
opinion, one formed from almost 50 years in politics. “Instead of dictator, perhaps the better term is disciplinarian, baka masamain nila ang dictator (They might misconstrue it),” he laughs. But Singson is
unapologetic about his views. He means what he says, and says what he intends.
MAN OF LEGEND
Singson, one of the most powerful—and fascinating—Filipino politicians of his generation, is no stranger to scandal or controversy. He has waded through such for decades and has quite proudly survived attempts to discredit his reputation, and even more gravely, to end his life.
Singson has already dodged death like a cat with nine lives. “Before I was elected, I was ambushed six times. And on the seventh attempt, it happened while I was dancing in the town fiesta after my win; two grenades were thrown at me.” Several people died that night, including the woman he was dancing with. “Luckily, she shielded me and took all the shrapnel,” he recalls. Just another day in the life of this politician.
After so many attempts, he’s grown a thick skin and is unbothered by any other possible threats. “I believe in destiny. Every time I survive, they say, may mission ka pa,may mission ka pa,” he mentions in
a previous interview. “I might not go to Mass, but I do have a direct line to God.”
From serving as governor of Ilocos Sur for a total of nearly 29 years, to being a key figure in the events leading to the impeachment of President Joseph Estrada in 2001, to assuming power in the north yet
again as current mayor of Narvacan, Singson is forthright with what he thinks is needed for the country to