LAOAG CITY: Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte led 22 of the province’s 23 mayors in endorsing the candidacy of Manuel “Mar” Roxas.
However, they said they will support Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos instead of Roxas’ running mate, Rep. Leni Robredo of Camarines Sur.
“I won’t speak in numbers, but our presence here is a manifestation of our desire to help Mar. I know all the presidential candidates and they are my friends, and they are good, but I think the best for the country is Mar. We have the momentum and we should build on it,” Fariñas told reporters.
Region 1, which includes Ilocos Norte, has 2.96 million registered voters.
“[But] I already told Leni, who earlier came here, that we are for Bongbong [for Vice President]because he (Bongbong) is from here. Yes, I am from Liberal Party, but you know the sentiments of the people here. Mahirap naman saktan ang mga nagmamahal sa aming ka-probinsya [It would be hard for us to hurt the ones who love our province-mates],” the lawmaker, who is seeking re-election, said.
Fariñas is a former member of the Nacionalista Party (NP) where Marcos also belongs. Senator Marcos’ sister, Imee, is the Ilocos Norte Governor.
The lawmaker said that the governor did not grant him the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) as NP candidate for Ilocos Norte’s first district representative seat.
Fariñas eventually joined Roxas’ LP to became the ruling party’s official candidate for the said position.
Roxas remained grateful of the group’s support even if it did not include his running mate.
“This is really a big help because these mayors come from different parties,” Roxas, who emerged statistically tied with Sen. Grace Poe for second place in the Pulse Asia survey released on Friday, said.
Of the 22 Ilocos Norte Mayors, only three are from the LP. The rest either belong to a local party or the NP.
“These local officials have seen how I performed my job in delivering patrol jeeps, ambulance, and other services in my tenure in the Secretary of the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government). Every province was treated equally,” Roxas said.
“If you look at the surveys, I was the only gainer there. We are now statistically tied for second place and I am very encouraged. It shows that we are gaining ground. We just need a few more rolls, and maybe, these Mayors can provide that,” the presidential aspirant added.
Gov. Marcos was not able to meet with Roxas who visited the province for a series of radio interviews.