After dropping bid for governor, Fariñas backs Imee Marcos’ Senate candidacy

Mara Cepeda
After dropping bid for governor, Fariñas backs Imee Marcos’ Senate candidacy
Ilocos Norte congressman Rudy Fariñas says it would 'bring honor' to their province if his former rival Imee Marcos wins in the 2019 senatorial race

MANILA, Philippines – The Fariñas and Marcos clans are allies once again.

Less than a week after withdrawing his gubernatorial bid, Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Rudy Fariñas said he is supporting the senatorial bid of his former rival, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos.

“Of course. She’s the governor of our province, the 1st District of which I represent in Congress!” Fariñas told reporters in a Viber message when asked if he is backing Marcos’ senatorial bid.  

Fariñas’ withdrawal from the gubernatorial race meant Marcos’ son, Ilocos Norte 2nd District Senior Board Member Matthew Marcos Manotoc, is now unopposed.

Fariñas became a last-minute substitute candidate for governor after a peace deal with the Marcos clan fell through in 2018. 

Fariñas and Marcos make for strange bedfellows this elections, as the latter had been instrumental in the House coup that unseated Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as speaker last year. (READ: The women behind the fall of Alvarez)

This meant that Fariñas, Alvarez’s right-hand man who was truly running the show in the House of Representatives, was also unseated as majority leader.

Fariñas had led a months-long congressional probe into the alleged misuse of P66.45 million worth of Ilocos Norte provincial funds to purchase motor vehicles under Marcos’ leadership. 

Both the House committee on good government and public accountability and the Commission on Audit recommended the filing of administrative and criminal charges against officials of the Ilocos Norte provincial government.

What changed?

So why support Marcos for senator now? Fariñas said his former rival’s victory “would bring honor” to Ilocos Norte, where he used to be governor.

“The House investigation was concluded last year and the [House committee] had made its report. She is the governor of our province, a position that I previously held for 10 years. Since she is running for the Senate, her victory would bring honor to our province,” said Fariñas.

“Same thing I did when Bongbong ran for the vice presidency,” added Fariñas, referring to Marcos’ younger brother Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, who lost in the 2016 vice presidential race.

Since 1998, the Fariñas and Marcos families have been either allies or rivals in Ilocos Norte after the Marcoses returned to the province when the family patriarch, former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, died in exile in Hawaii in 1989. 

In 2015, the Marcoses cut ties with Fariñas and dropped him from their “One Ilocos Norte” ticket. 

Their relations soured even more when Fariñas led the probe into the alleged misuse of Ilocos Norte funds in 2017. Two years later, the Marcos and Fariñas clans are allies once again. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.