By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Former House Majority Floor Leader and incumbent Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas was supposed to retire from politics next year if only the Marcos family respected their so-called “peace agreement” in their bailiwick.
In his series of Viber messages to reporters covering the House of Representatives, Fariñas explained that he decided to run for governor in Ilocos Norte on the last day of substitution for candidates because Marcoses broke their gentleman’s pact for the upcoming 2019 midterm elections.
Fariñas explained that he and former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. have agreed of “having peace” between their families with the former’s daughter, incumbent Provincial Board Member Ria Fariñas, and the latter’s mother, convicted former First Lady and incumbent second district Rep. Imelda Romualdez Marcos both being unopposed in next year’s polls.
The younger Fariñas is running to replace his father as first district legislator while Marcos was supposed to run as governor of Ilocos Norte.
But the Marcos camp decided to field another candidate in Fariñas’ bailiwick in the person of Ryan Remigio, the same guy the former Majority Floor Leader defeated in the 2016 polls.
At the same time, Marcos’ distant cousin, former Ilocos Norte Gov. Michael Marcos Keon, made a last-minute filing of his certificate of candidacy (COC) as Mayor of Laoag City. This was supposedly another violation of the Fariñas-Marcos peace agreement since the capital city of Ilocos Norte is currently under the leadership of her niece-in-law, incumbent two-term Mayor Chevylle Fariñas.
Rep. Fariñas stressed that Mayor Chevylle had no serious opponent until the last minute filing of Keon on Thursday afternoon.
He added that Keon originally intended to run as city councilor of Laoag but ten minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline on Thursday, the former Ilocos Norte governor was able to secure a certificate of nomination and acceptance (CONA) from the Partido Nacionalista (NP) and substituted its earlier candidate for mayor.
“He (Keon) got an NP CONA and substituted against Chevylle for mayor,” said Fariñas.
The decision of Keon to challenge the incumbent Laoag City Mayor prompted Fariñas on Thursday to a last-minute filing of his candidacy as governor of Ilocos Norte
Fariñas, who first served as Ilocos Norte governor from 1988 to 1998, will run under the ruling administration party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban).
Instead of facing the Marcos matriarch, Fariñas will now face her grandson, incumbent Provincial Board Member Matthew Marcos Manotoc, in next year’s gubernatorial race in province.
Manotoc, son of incumbent Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos replaced her grandmother using the same substitution scheme on Thursday. Marcos was perpetually disqualified from holding any positions in the government after her graft conviction at the Sandiganbayan last November 9.