2022 PH local races

Keon wins Laoag City mayoral race

John Michael Mugas
Keon wins Laoag City mayoral race

KEON. File photo of Michael Marcos Keon.

Courtesy of Michael Keon's official Facebook page

(1st UPDATE) The local Commission on Elections proclaims Michael Marcos Keon the winner at around 2:00 am on May 10

LAOAG CITY, Philippines – Despite being dropped by his own relatives and saying that the 2022 polls had seen him “walking a road of treachery,” incumbent Laoag City Mayor Michael Marcos Keon emerged victorious in a tight three-way mayoral race.

The local Commission on Elections (Comelec) proclaimed Keon the winner at around 2:00 am on Tuesday, May 10.

The estranged Marcos kin ran a heated local campaign, at times engaging in a word war with his rival Lazo and tried to pick himself up after his own relatives did not back his reelection bid.

The Marcos clan fielded Keon in 2019 despite being at odds in the past, particularly in 2010 when he squared off with Imee Marcos for Ilocos Norte governor.

In December last year, Keon said that he was “bewildered” and found it “hard to accept” that his family “could believe the false narratives concocted by his detractors which could be why his relatives did not back his reelection bid.

The Marcoses’ decision not to back Keon stemmed from the issues and controversies that hounded Keon relating to his performance as a Laoag City mayor.

“There’s still a standard on performance and governance and it is a big responsibility,” said his nephew and incumbent governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc.

But Keon, who ran as an independent, emerged victorious even without the backing of the Marcoses, saying he “was overwhelmed by all the support given to him, that so many people stood with me.”

He said he does not resent his family who did not back him, but instead congratulated and looked forward to working with them.

“Despite all the obstacles and despite such a long journey, I was able to prevail in the end,” said Keon.

Almost victory

It was almost a victory for Chevylle Fariñas who tried to stage a comeback at the Laoag city hall which her family used to rule for at least three decades before Keon took over.

The mayor-elect still congratulated Chevylle for fighting until the very end. “Just like to say that I am surprised that Chevylle fought so hard. I was surprised to tell you the truth, but it’s good,” he said.

The Fariñases, however, were able to secure the second top spot, with Carlos Fariñas winning as vice mayor against Team Marcos bet and lawyer Ameurfina Salenda.

The city council will still have members of the Fariñas clan, with Chevylle’s son John Michael winning a seat. Other Fariñases who won city council seats were Jeff and Roger John. – Rappler.com

John Michael Mugas is a Luzon-based fellow and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.