Latest Stories


Marcoses’ One-Ilocos Norte crumbles


PROMISING unity under One-Ilocos Norte, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ children, Gov. Imee Marcos and Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, endorse the Fariñas couple Michael and Chevylle during a proclamation rally. PHOTO BY CRISTINA ARZADON

The political landscape in Ilocos Norte is no stranger to wrangling between members of a political clan or to a circus of former allies becoming fierce enemies.

It happened once with the Marcos family in 2010, when Imee Marcos faced and trounced her cousin Michael Keon’s bid for a second term in the gubernatorial post.

The on-again, off-again alliance between the Marcoses and the province’s next most influential clan, the Fariñases, has been amusing to both political observers and ordinary voters.

“We are used to their odd union. There’s always LQ (lovers’ quarrel),” a city government official, who requested anonymity, said.

The two families have been alternately allies and rivals since 1998 when the Marcoses returned to Ilocos Norte and reclaimed their old political turf after being politically dormant following the exile and death of patriarch Ferdinand Marcos in Hawaii in 1989.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who was then running on his first term as governor, relied for support on his long-time friend and ally, Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas, who had completed his full term as governor in 1998.

The alliance would be short-lived as the erstwhile friends became rivals early in their terms—Bongbong as governor, Rudy as representative—over frivolous disputes.

Rudy’s supposed tendency to become overbearing did not sit well with Bongbong; Rudy, on the other hand, found Bongbong’s leadership style wanting.

The Marcoses and the Fariñases returned to being allies in the 2010 elections, which also saw the birth of the so-called One-Ilocos Norte team.

Backed by mother Imelda and brother Bongbong, Imee Marcos created One-Ilocos Norte, which was both a platform and a concept to unify the province’s political leaders. Rudy, who ran as representative, completed the Marcos ticket.

This time, the unified Ilocos Norte is, yet again, set to collapse, including the Marcos-Fariñas alliance, all because of infighting within the Fariñas clan.

Former Laoag Mayor Roger Fariñas, who served from 1995 to 2004, wants to get back his old seat, a promise he once made to city government employees before completing his term.

“During my last flag raising ceremony as mayor, I told them I shall return,” Roger said in public forums. “I told them I will wait until my nephew (outgoing Laoag Mayor Michael Fariñas) finishes his term and I will return to continue my service.”

Roger, however, would have to run for the mayoral post against his nephew’s wife, Chevylle, who has endeared herself not just to city employees but also to leaders of villages where she carved her political clout, having been elected president of the Association of Barangay Captains in Laoag.

Michael himself is running for vice mayor and is up against his cousin Carlos, eldest son of Rudy, resulting in a baffling, bordering on the absurd, Fariñas-Fariñas-Fariñas-Fariñas race.

What made the match-ups complicated is that Imee Marcos has endorsed Chevylle’s candidacy, giving Rudy a reason to make himself scarce from the Marcos camp.

The lawmaker was noticeably absent during the proclamation of Imee’s One-Ilocos Norte ticket on April 2 at the capitol stage. Bongbong provided support for his sister and her provincial and local lineups that included the Fariñas couple, Michael and Chevylle.

Rudy’s absence was not lost on rally spectators. “Awanen Ilocos Norte (‘No More Ilocos Norte’ in Ilocano and a word play on the One-Ilocos Norte ticket),” a rally observer said.

The last time Rudy was seen working with the team was on the day they filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) on Oct. 3.

What gives?

On Oct. 1, the first day of filing of COC, Michael pulled a surprise by fielding his wife to the mayoral post, a move that upset Rudy as he was then in the middle of negotiating who among the family members would run for the Laoag seat. Rudy wanted to prevent Roger and Chevylle from slugging it out for the seat.

Roger later filed his COC on Oct. 5. Keon, who saw an opportunity behind the relatives’ conflict, filed his own. Keon would later withdraw his candidacy, reminding himself of a lesson he learned the hard way when he faced a relative in a heads-up battle.

“It is in the interest of the family. I do not wish to be the source of dissent among the Marcoses,” Keon said after he pulled out of the mayoral race.

When he faced reporters on Dec. 3, Michael said his uncle, Rudy, presented three options for the former to consider during their meeting on Nov. 6.

“First, Carlos will run as mayor with me as vice mayor. Second, Carlos runs as mayor with my son Jamie as his vice mayor. The last option was for Chevylle to run as mayor with Carlos as her vice mayor,” he said.

Michael said the meeting went on for hours from 5:30 p.m. until early the next day without them arriving at a common understanding. “I wanted to cut him short and tell him the first two proposals are not options,” he said.

Michael said the decision to field his wife was not merely a family agreement but a party decision, referring to the province’s Liberal Party-Nacionalista Party alliance. Michael belongs to the LP while the Marcoses have coalesced with the NP.

Chevylle’s candidacy also got Imee’s approval as leader of the One-Ilocos Norte ticket.

“[That it has come to this] is not anybody’s fault. No one did this intentionally,” Michael said.

Anybody’s guess

Whether the Fariñases will sort themselves eventually or stick to their guns before the May 13 elections is anybody’s guess. As the campaign heats up, so is the fierce bickering between members of the once-solid Fariñas clan.

“The Fariñas clan has always been solid. The family has crumbled because the couple (Michael and Chevylle) no longer wants to let go of their seats,” Roger said.

Michael, on the other hand, said his tiff with his uncle began the day he assumed his seat at City Hall. “During my first day in office, my uncle stormed the office of the mayor and censured me,” he said.

Roger, he said, appeared to be upset that his wife was not allowed to continue serving as the city government’s tourism officer, a position that Roger’s wife held while he was mayor.

“I have yet to hear a nice word from him,” Michael said.

Michael was aware that his uncle had been dishing out stories of supposed corruption in his administration in various avenues.

Speaking before their supporters during the One-Ilocos Norte proclamation rally, Michael said he did not wish to answer back “out of respect to an elder.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: 2013 elections , Bongbong Marcos Jr. , Fariñases , Ferdinand Marcos , Imee Marcos , One-Ilocos Norte team , Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Ex-PBA player Bryan Gahol dies in road mishap


  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Sandigan junks Marcos family claim to Paoay property
  • Sports

  • Caguioa blasts ‘no heart, soft’ Ginebra on Twitter
  • San Mig Coffee grinds out win over Alaska to force decider
  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • Marketplace