PRESIDENTIAL candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte started his courtship of the “Solid North” and liberally invoked the name of former President Ferdinand Marcos whose family still commands a substantial number of votes in Ilocano-speaking northern Luzon.
But while Duterte started to woo the Solid North, a favored son of the Ilocos region, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is running for vice president, hit the hustings in equally-vote rich Batangas province where he was greeted by thousands of eager supporters.
“I’m no stranger to Ilocos and Ilocanos,” declared Duterte upon his arrival in Laoag City on Friday.
“My father [Gov. Vicente Duterte] was one of only two Mindanao governors who did not abandon the Nacionalista [Party] when [then Senate President Ferdinand Marcos] first ran for president,” Duterte told the crowd that packed the provincial council’s session hall.
Duterte’s father was the last governor of the undivided Davao before it was split into Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Davao City. After Marcos won in the election, he rewarded the elder Duterte’s party loyalty by appointing him to the Cabinet as secretary of the Department of General Services.
While Duterte invoked the Marcos name in Laoag, Bongbong was swarmed by supporters in Balayan City where former executive secretary Eduardo Ermita, a kingpin of the region since the Ramos administration, announced his endorsement of Marcos’ vice presidential candidacy.
“Our vice president, Bongbong Marcos, with his long experience in government, fully knows what the Filipino people need,” said Ermita, who has been the party’s regional chairman since 1992.
Ermita said he is confident Marcos will win in the coming May elections because he has maintained his base of voters in Northern Luzon and remains to be a force to reckon with in Mindanao.
“The senator’s base is impregnable. Northern Luzon at our countrymen in Mindanao. It’s just simple arithmetic. One cake is divided by two, the other half is divided by four and the other is going for the only one coming from northern Luzon, our vice president Marcos,” Ermita said.
Last Friday, Senator Marcos was also endorsed by NPC Pangasinan Chairman Mark Cojuangco during his visit to the province.
In his brief message at the 11th Barangay Health Workers District Congress at the Plaza Enrique Braganza in Alaminos City, where the senator was the guest speaker, Cojuangco said Marcos is the best candidate for the post because of his extensive experience both in his personal life and as public servant.
He said the people should not let this opportunity get away who will unify the country like what he did on the northern part of Luzon. Let us support the candidacy of Bongbong Marcos,” Cojuangco said.
Since the start of the campaign season, Senator Marcos has been getting the support of several political leaders including rivals in the different provinces and cities he had visited namely Ilocos Sur, Abra, La Union, Pangasinan and Pasig City.
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