Ilocanos still pushing Digong-Bongbong tandem
LAOAG CITY—Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte may have inadvertently endorsed vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. last week when he met a group of Ilocanos who were trying to revive an earlier proposal to make him as Marcos’ presidential bet.
Duterte flew here on Feb. 19 at the invitation of Alyansang Duterte-Bongbong (ALDUB).
During their meeting, Duterte again laid down his plan to end criminality “within three to six months” if he wins the presidency.
“Kapag di ko kaya in 3 to 6 months, mag-resign ako at Presidente na si Bongbong (If I fail to crush criminality in 3 to 6 months, I would resign and Bongbong becomes your President),” he said.
Duterte’s running mate is Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who did not join him here.
But on Tuesday, Cayetano said he was not upset about rumors that he had been abandoned by Duterte because of that statement.
“I am very secure of his support and I am secure that if Duterte becomes President, magiging safe ang mga kalye at tahanan natin (our streets and homes would be secured),” Cayetano said during a meeting with fish growers in Dagupan City.
“When he (Duterte) said he would go to the Ilocos, I said there was no problem because he really had to go around the country [to campaign],” he said.
“But if the people want another Vice President, I will still support them because for me, Duterte can bring real change to the [country],” he said.
New pairings of presidential and vice presidential candidates are coming because “we do not elect a President and a Vice President who are a tandem,” he said.
“That is why we have Binay-Chiz, Binay-Bongbong, Duterte-Bongbong. If you look at the headquarters of Bongbong, according to [a television news report], Miriam [Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Marcos’ running mate] is not there. So that is their strategy and it is up to the people to reward loyalty and party politics,” Cayetano said.
On Feb. 12, another group of Ilocanos drummed up the pairing of Marcos and presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe.
“We are supporting Senator Bongbong and Mayor Duterte because of what they advocate—discipline and unity for a progressive nation. If we have discipline, we have peace and order. We won’t have an illegal drugs problem. We won’t deal with corruption,” said retired Admiral Reuben Lista, convenor of ALDUB in Laoag City.
ALDUB supporters welcomed Duterte at Laoag International Airport, wearing white T-shirts that bore the names “Duterte-Bongbong” printed in large bold letters and an embossed golden sun.
The group was composed of migrant workers, seafarers, retired generals and representatives from the villages and the business sector who waited for Duterte for four hours on Friday.
Lista said, “It’s been far too long that our country has been disunited. That’s what Senator Bongbong is aspiring to fulfill, that we unite and we learn to be disciplined, which is what Mayor Duterte has shown in his stewardship in Davao.”
“It was a purely private affair and when [Gov. Imee Marcos] learned about it, she called Duterte and invited him to speak on federalism before the League of Barangay Captains at the provincial capitol,” the volunteer said.
Marilyn Aldos, 57, said she traveled from her hometown Bangui to listen to Duterte, whom she described as a strong leader.
Several Ilocos Norte mayors also met with Duterte at the capitol and joined him in Batac City to visit the Marcos mausoleum and meet with students of Mariano Marcos State University. With a report from Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon