HomeGovernmentThe Chief ExecutiveFormer MayorsHon. Julio Cesar F. Climaco

Hon. Julio Cesar F. Climaco (1987)

The period in which Julio Cesar F. Climaco served as mayor of Zamboanga City was relatively short, yet he would hold the distinction of being the city’s first mayor after Edsa Revolution.

Julio Cesar Floreta Climaco was the third child in the brood of six of Cesar C. Climaco and Julia Floreta. Rini as he was fondly called by his family was born on June 28, 1944, in Sta. Maria, Zamboanga City. Rini was to grow up under the influence of his outspoken and militant father, and mother Julia, who saw to it that Rini and his other brothers and two sisters would grow up as accomplished citizens.

Rini took his elementary education at the Normal School, later moving to the Zamboanga City High School for his secondary education. After graduation from high school, Rini went to Manila where he studied at the University of the Philippines, taking up a course in Bachelor of Science major in Political Science. This was to prepare him for what he wanted to do, which was to become a lawyer. He enrolled at the university’s college of law and took the bar examination in 1970. He became a full pledge lawyer the following year.

As a young lawyer, Rini’s first experience as public servant was when he accepted the appointment as special prosecutor in 1974. He would hold this office for only ten months.

At the height of his bachelorhood, Rini met and fell in love with Esther Nimfa Peña. The two were married on April 9, 1976, at the Sta. Maria Church. They were blessed with four children, two boys and two girls, namely: Dennis, Julio, Jr., Julie Anne and Sherina Marie. Two of his sons became physical therapists, all now working in the United States.

Rini had no intention of being in politics, yet fate would set the course of his destiny when his father was assassinated in 1984. In 1986, immediately after Edsa Revolution, the Cory Administration felt that a Climaco would help unify the Zamboangueños to adhere to the changes of the new government. It was because of this that they offered Rini the appointment as acting mayor of Zamboanga under the Interim Government.

As acting mayor of Zamboanga, Rini was to pave the way for the policies of the Cory Administration, to include its policy of attraction for both the Moro National Liberation Front and the New People’s Army.  Rini was to make a very bold move when he invited MNLF Chairman Nurulaji Misuari to Zamboanga, a move which came after the controversial meeting between President Aquino and Misuari in Sulu.  Rini’s action was received by the Zamboangueños with mixed feelings, and it would later affect his political career.

There was not much to accomplish during the term of Rini Climaco, which ran for only a few months. According to Rini, the city government did not have the sufficient fundings to undertake any major projects, and there were no funds coming from the national government, which at that time was more concerned with doing an accounting of the money allegedly, absconded by the Marcos administration.  He was, nevertheless, responsible for the concreting of the roads from Gov. Ramos to the Airport, and the concreting of the road from Suterville to Baliwasan.  The city’s Annual Budget at the time when he took over was only fifty million pesos.

In 1987, regular elections for the local government and congress were resumed.  Rini, instead of running for the position of Mayor, decided to throw his hat into the congressional race, giving way to Councilor Vitaliano  Agan to run for the mayoralty against Manuel Dalipe, the mayor who was removed from office after the Edsa revolt.  Rini was to run against a formidable opponent by the name of Maria Clara L. Lobregat.

Public opinion at this point in time was against Rini because of his rubbing elbows with Nur Misuari, who at that time made it very clear that he had the intention of establishing an independent Mindanao.  To the Zamboangueños, Rini and the Cory Administration had only succeeded in reviving a dead issue.  Rini lost badly in that election.  On the other hand, his mayoralty candidate, Vitaliano Agan, who capitalized on the alleged excesses of the Dalipe Administration, emerged victorious.