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LAOAG CITY, Philippines – Veteran politician and Ilocos Norte gubernatorial candidate Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas is keeping his hands off national politics, making no clear endorsement of a presidential candidate.
During an interview with local media Balitang Ilocos Online on February 8, Fariñas did not categorically state whether he is supporting presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., although he hinted that it is important to unite behind a fellow Ilocano.
This was the first time that Fariñas spoke to local reporters after coming out of retirement to run as provincial governor in the 2022 polls.
The politician made his last-minute decision after Marcos Jr’s son, Sandro, challenged his daughter, Ria Fariñas, the re-electionist congress representative for Ilocos Norte’s 1st District. Rudy substituted for Juner Daniega Jacinto under the banner of Partido Para sa Demokratikong Reporma (PDP-Laban).
The elder Fariñas said he has declined other candidates who have tried to seek his support.
“Ado’t mangayat a umay ngem ti kunak kadakuada, sabali ti situasyonmi ditoy Ilocos Norte, ta adda kandidatomi ditoy. (Many are trying to seek my endorsement [for President], but I tell them that our situation in the province is different as we have a fellow Ilocano who is running for the position).” Rudy said in Ilokano.
But the former House majority leader said that it is a different situation in the local political scene.
Even with a united force in the national political scene, he said that many residents are backing his and his family’s election bid against the Marcoses in the locally contested elective posts.
A Marcos-Fariñas showdown for the gubernatorial elective post is forthcoming as Rudy said that he is “serious” in running as governor this time, unlike in the 2019 polls when he backed out at the last minute.
The Marcoses will not be running unopposed in Ilocos Norte this year, said Rudy.
“Mailiw met ti tao nga adda ama ti probinsya a makasaritada mismo. (People are also yearning for a provincial leader whom they can directly consult and speak to),” said Fariñas in Ilokano.
He said that it would be wrong for him to just stay silent and not do anything in the face of the wrongful acts committed by the present local administration. He particularly cited how the provincial government under then-outgoing governor Imee Marcos took out a loan to finance white elephant projects.
Rudy said he would be banking on his years-worth of experience in his bid to become Ilocos Norte governor.
In November, Manotoc said he was “not too concerned” about Rudy’s decision to run as governor, hoping that the latter’s intention would be “sincere this time around.” – Rappler.com
John Michael Mugas is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.