HomeGovernmentThe Chief ExecutiveFormer MayorsHon. Rustico M. Varela

Hon. Rustico M. Varela (1986-1987)

Rustico M. Varela was born on October 10, 1972, in Binondo, Manila. His parents, who migrated to Zamboanga City, were Santiago Varela from Tanawan, Batangas, and Arcadia Medina from Nueva Ecija.  Tic, as he was known to many, grew up in Zamboanga with three brothers, Dominador, Victor and Illuminado, and two sisters, Purification and Rosenda.

He was educated as an Atenean, taking up his elementary and secondary education at the Ateneo de Zamboanga, where he graduated in 1939 and 1946, respectively.  Tic attended the Far Eastern University in Manila where he finished his Bachelor of Arts then later took up law for three years.

Tic met his wife, Rosa Falcatan Macrohon, in the city of Zamboanga. He was a family friend of the Macrohons, and his sister happened to be Rosa’s best friend. A romance began, and on December 24, 1949, Tic and Rosa got married.  They were blessed with four sons, namely: Santiago, a lawyer, Rustico Jr., Roberto and Raul.

Before working in the government, Tic was connected with several private firms and enterprises.  Even before he got married he was already the vice president and general manager of the Universal Enterprises Inc. in Manila and Baguio in 1948.  He became the Director for the College and High School Department at the University of Mindanao, in Tagum, Davao; Dean of Discipline and college instructor at the Southern City College of Commerce in Zamboanga City; Executive Secretary to the President and college instructor of Political Science, History and English at A.E. Colleges.

Tic’s political career started when he was appointed Secretary to the Mayor during the time Mayor Hector Suarez from 1954 to 1955.  In 1955, Tic became one of the appointed city councilors, then later the secretary of the Commission on National Integration (CNI).

In 1960 until 1963, Tic was taken in as Secretary to Zamboanga del Sur Congressman Canuto Ms. Ernerio.  He came back to Zamboanga and was subsequently appointed as secretary to the mayor by then Mayor Hector Suarez who was this time an elected mayor of Zamboanga City.  He would serve as secretary to the mayor from 1964 to 1967. Tic ran for the council in 1967, an election which he won.  He would serve as city councilor until 1971, and was re-elected for another term until 1975.

After serving as councilor, for a time he got away from government service and worked as President of Davao Savings Western Mindanao, and at the same time as Vice-President of the University of Mindanao Broadcast Network, and manager of the DXRZ radio station in Zamboanga.

When Cesar Climaco was elected back to office as city mayor of Zamboanga, Tic was immediately the first person in mind to take over the position of city administrator.  Tic held this position briefly, taking over as caretaker of the city when Cesar was assassinated in 1984 until Mayor Dalipe assumed office. He then continued as the city administrator under the Dalipe administration until the 1986 EDSA Revolution.  After Mayor Dalipe was removed from office after the takeover of the Cory revolutionary government, Tic was designated OIC-Mayor of Zamboanga City until June 1, 1987, and then returned to his position as city administrator when President Aquino appointed Julio Cesar Climaco the son of Cesar, as mayor of Zamboanga.  Tic was again to become the OIC-mayor of Zamboanga City when Rini decided to run for congress.

Tic Varela was a multi-faceted person.  He was not only a politician, but also an educator, publisher, columnist, radio commentator, singer, musician, orator, debater and talented newspaperman.

Being an active and energetic person, he was very much involved in civic and political organizations.  He founded the United Militant Youth Organization. He was also the President of the Development Academy Training and the National Federation of Market Administrators. He also became the Vice-President of the Nacionalista Youth Party.

He died on May 19, 1993. His death was greatly felt by the people in the city government. When Rustico Varela passed away, Zamboanga Star, a local newspaper wrote that “it is not everyday that someone with the stature of Rustico Varela comes out of the firmament to share his life with the people of Zamboanga.  The number of years that he served at city hall, about five years as secretary to the mayor and over 12 years or thereabout as City Administrator doubling at times as caretaker and OIC-Mayor or make him one among the very few career officials who had a direct hand in  administering the affairs of Zamboanga.  In actuality, Tic has been the unelected mayor of Zamboanga for over a dozen or so years.”