Warring dominant Ilocos Norte pols willing to mend ties after elections
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte—The two warring political families in Ilocos Norte province–the Fariñases and Marcoses–are willing to drop any tension that had built up during the 2022 campaign season.
If there is one political race that had kept voters in the province on the edge of their seats this year it was the one run by rivals incumbent First District Rep. Ria Fariñas, the daughter of veteran politician and gubernatorial candidate Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas, and Sandro Marcos, the son of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Speaking to local reporters after he cast his vote in Laoag City on Monday morning, May 9, Sandro said he wished his political competitor Ria “all the best and good luck in the elections.”
“I hope alam niya kung anong naranasan namin ngayong kampanyang ito, and I still consider her as a friend,” Sandro said, noting that they had known each other from the House of Representatives when he worked under his uncle, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez.
When asked if their families would mend their ties after the elections, Sandro said: “There is nothing to reconcile. I consider them as my friends and never ako gumawa ng issue. Never ako nambato ng kahit ano man.”
During a press briefing on Monday, Ria said she also wished her political opponent “good luck and all the best.”
Her father said they would be “reconciliatory” after the elections, regardless of the outcome.
“Sana naman maging okay, wala namang personal na away,” Rudy said.
In November last year, Rudy beat the substitution deadline and came out of his retirement to run as Ilocos Norte governor against incumbent Matthew Marcos Manotoc, the son of Sen. Imee Marcos, after the Marcos clan “pitted” Sandro against Ria.
Rudy noted that the most important among the election contests for the Fariñases, who have at least eight members running for local positions, is that of Ria.
The first district of Ilocos Norte is known as the political base of the Fariñases, while the Marcoses kept the second district.
Leader of the opposition?
Despite being at odds with the Marcoses in the 2022 polls, Rudy said that he rallied support for Marcos Jr., albeit passively.
He would have been openly supportive of Marcos Jr. if they let Ria run uncontested.
“Magkaibigan naman kami. Pero pinalabanan si Ria kaya ganito ang situation,” Rudy said.
Rudy revealed that the camp of presidential candidate and Vice President Leni Robredo had tried to get his support.
This would have opened the possibility of Rudy being an “opposition leader” in the province against the Marcoses as hoped for by the Ilocano supporters of Robredo.
The “Kakampinks” here actively campaigned for Robredo, going house to house, which had not been seen before for any political candidate in the Marcos bailiwick.
Rudy then asked for the understanding of the Ilocano supporters of Robredo as their situation was complicated. Risking it would mean that they would lose their voters’ base that are also backing Marcos Jr., he said.
“Alam niyo naman tayo, whether we like it or not, we are regionalistic. And we vote for someone from our place,” he said. /ra