LAOAG CITY, Philippines – In times of disasters, presidential candidate Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. failed to show up for Cagayan province, according to former governor Alvaro “Bong” Antonio.
In an speech delivered in Ilokano before introducing Vice President Leni Robredo during her slate’s People’s Rally in Alcala town on March 12, Antonio claimed he tried to reach out to Marcos Jr. during his term as senator for help when the province was hit by a strong typhoon during his second term as governor from 2010 to 2013.
He claimed Marcos Jr. did not bother to help the province even though it was considered as his bailiwick as part of the so-called “Solid North.”
“Haanak pay sinango. Inpabati na lattan ti resolution ko. Namindua nga daras a nagparangnak a dumawat ti saranay para ti probinsya a kas gobernador…ngem ni singkong duling, awan inted na. (He did not even face me. He only instructed that my resolution be left. I personally tried to ask him for help twice when I was governor but not even a cross-eyed centavo was given by him),” said Antonio, the father of Alcala Mayor Tin Antonio.
This came even as Cagayan commanded votes for Marcos Jr., with Antonio campaigning for him, during the 2010 senatorial elections.
Antonio said he had no intention to malign Marcos Jr. It was hoped that this time Cagayan residents would open their eyes as to who had been there for the province during difficult moments in the past.
As an elder of the province whose non-endorsement of Marcos Jr. in the May 2022 polls is being questioned, Antonio said he wanted to give voters the basis to scrutinize candidates in the 2022 polls, shattering the long-held tradition of voting based on one’s ethnic ties alone.
His statements were rare in the Solid North province voting bloc where many elected officials would not publicly denounce the Marcoses.
“Haan a masapol nga Ilocano ti pilyen tayo, masapol a agbasar tayo kadagiti nagkallabes (It is not necessary that we should pick an Ilocano candidate as we also base our votes over what transpired in the past),” he said, citing how the Martial Law regime under Marcos Jr’s father should not be considered as “golden age of the Philippines.”
“Takderak nga iti Ili laeng ti Alcala, adukami a naibalbalod, adukami, karaman dagiti kabagyak ken gagayem ko a natnatay. Nariknak ti kinadawel ti Martial Law. Isu nga nu ibagbaga da a nasayaat ti Martial Law, por dios por santo, saan kayo a mamati kadayta (I will stand with the truth that in Alcala alone, there were many of us who were imprisoned, including my friends and family who died. I felt the aggression of Martial Law. That is why, if they say that Martial Law is good, por dios por santo, do not believe that),” he lamented.
Data from Amnesty International showed the extent of destruction of the Martial Law regime: 70,000 detained, 34,000 tortured and 3,240 disappeared and presumed to be dead.
Antonio, who is endorsing the tandem of Vice President Leni Robredo and her running mate Senator Francis ‘Kiko Pangilinan, urged those present at the Alcala rally to “get out of their comfort zones” if they aspire to have the “best leadership” the country could offer.
“Haanlaeng a makaananay ti butosyo. Masapol a kumbinsirenyo ta karrubayo tapno tumulongda ken mangabak tayo kadetoy eleksion (Your votes will not be enough now. You need to convince your neighbors to help us win this election),” he said.
The former governor said it was up to the people to choose wisely among the candidates, posing a question to the voters: Will you vote for one who had never failed to show up for Cagayan despite losing there in the previous national elections, or for another who claimed close ethnic ties to the province but did not bother to bring help in times of need? – Rappler.com