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Surprised? Fariñas siblings file bill declaring Marcos holiday in Ilocos Norte

MANILA, Philippines – Days before the nation's remembrance of the declaration of Martial Law, two scions of the Farinas clan that had locked horns with the Marcos family now want a non-working holiday to be declared in Ilocos Norte in honor of the late dictator.

Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Ria Fariñas and  her brother, Probinsyano Ako Representative Rudys Caesar “Baby Boy” Fariñas, filed House Bill (HB) No. 4595 seeking to declare every September 11 as “President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Day” in Ilocos Norte.

September 11 is the birth anniversary of the late strongman, whose 21-year presidency was marred by corruption, killings, torture, disappearances, and media oppression. He was born in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte in 1917.

September is also the month when he declared Martial Law, considered the darkest years of post-colonial Philippines. (READ: Martial Law, the dark chapter in Philippine history)

Marcos and his family still control the Solid North provinces and enjoy the support of thousands of Marcos loyalists nationwide.

'Pride' of Ilocos Norte

“For the people of Ilocos Norte, the young and promising Marcos has brought pride to the province and served as inspiration for young leaders to exemplify his leadership and governance administration,” said the Fariñas siblings in their explanatory note for HB 4595.

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 died in exile in Hawaii in 1989.

In 2015, the Marcoses cut ties with then-Ilocos Norte congressional candidate Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas Sr and dropped him from their "One Ilocos Norte" ticket. 

Rudy Fariñas still won his bid for Congress and then went on to become the influential majority leader in the 17th Congress. 

He still co-authored a bill seeking to declare every September 11 as a day honoring Marcos. This measure was passed in the House of Representatives in May 2017, but did not fly in the Senate.  

A month later, Rudy Fariñas 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 the leadership of then-governor and now Senator Imee Marcos, the dictator's daughter.

The Fariñas-Marcos relations soured even more as Imee Marcos was instrumental in the House coup that unseated Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as speaker in July 2018. (READ: The women behind the fall of Alvarez

This caused Fariñas, Alvarez's right-hand man who was truly running the show in the House of Representatives, to also lose his seat as majority leader.

During the May 2019 elections, Rudy Fariñas decided to challenge the gubernatorial bid of Imee Marcos’ son, Matthew Marcos Manotoc. (READ: Peace deal gone wrong revives Marcos-Fariñas clash in Ilocos Norte)

But the Fariñas family patriarch later withdrew his candidacy, paving the way for Manotoc’s victory in Ilocos Norte. Rudy Fariñas even supported the senatorial bid of Imee Marcos. 

And the latest move of his children in the House just proves that the ties won't be souring too soon. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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