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Hugpong ng Pagbabago Senate slate courts voters in Marcos bailiwick

ILOCOS NORTE, Philippines – The Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) Senate slate on Monday, February 18, courted the votes of Ilocanos in the bailiwick of the Marcoses in Ilocos Region.

Senatorial candidates Cynthia Villar, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr, Jiggy Manicad, Bong Go, Bato Dela Rosa, JV Ejercito, Jinggoy Estrada, Dong Mangudadatu, and Imee Marcos were present Monday inside the jam-packed Centennial Arena in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

Both Revilla and Estrada talked about their detention due to plunder charges, telling the crowd that they are "innocent" and that the charges against them are "political persecution." (READ: Your guide to what Hugpong ng Pagbabago senatorial bets say during sorties)

Marcos, the governor of the province, hosted the campaign caravan for the Senate hopefuls. Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio, the party's national chairperson, also joined the 9 candidates at the latter part of the program.

With the presidential daughter as HNP chairperson, the group expects victory in the province in the May elections. After all, Duterte won big in Ilocos Norte during the 2016 presidential elections.

Senator Grace Poe, who ran against Duterte in 2016, topped the poll in 3 of 4 provinces in Ilocos Region, except in Ilocos Norte, which delivered more than 101,000 votes for Duterte.

In her speech, Marcos asked the audience to support the 13-member slate of the HNP. She also talked about her accomplishments as chief executive of the province.

HNP's campaign caravan brought in top politicians of the province, including Marcos' son Matthew Marcos Manotoc, who is running for Ilocos Norte governor.

Before Ilocos Norte, the group also campaigned in 3 other provinces in Ilocos Region: vote-rich Pangasinan, La Union, and Ilocos Sur.

During these rallies, alliances were formed between HNP and incumbent and political scions in the provinces, namely, the Ortegas of La Union, the Espinos of Pangasinan, and the Singsons of Ilocos Sur.

Carpio on Monday said the political party is "happy" with the support they are getting during their campaign caravans.

"Lahat ng mga local partners namin (All our local partners) are very supportive, including their local supporters.... We are happy for their show of support to our senatorial bets," Carpio said. – Rappler.com