By Ernie Reyes | InterAksyon
With 5 million votes from “Solid North,” Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has a distinct advantage over all his opponents in the vice presidential race, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile said on Wednesday.
In an interview, Enrile said all the Bicolano VP bets are formidable opponents but since there is only one Ilocano candidate, that would be the advantage of Marcos.
“There is an Ilocano candidate and the culture of the people of the North is when an Ilocano runs for a high public office, if he’s all alone, you can be sure that all the votes of the Ilocanos will gravitate to him. That’s the advantage of Sen. Marcos, a very distinct advantage. Hahabulin nila yung boto ng mga Ilocano,” Enrile said.
“Lahat sila matindi mga kalaban nila, pero ang sabi ko, merong malaking bentahe si Sen. Bongbong sa kanilang lahat,” Enrile, who hails from Cagayan, said.
Among those who will contest the VP race are all rooted from the Bicol region including Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Antonio Trillanes IV, and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo. Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, who was born in Baguio but whose parents are from the region, is being considered by Vice President Jejomar Binay as his partner in 2016.
“Unang una, sinong mga Bicolano diyan? Si Greg, si Chiz, si Trillanes, si Mrs. Robredo, apat. Hahati-hatiin, mababasag yung boto ng Bicol diyan sa apat na yan. Samantala, iisa ang kandidatong Ilocano, eh ang kultura ng Ilocano, maski nasaan sila basta mayroong kandidatong Ilocano for a national office, they will vote for him,” Enrile said.
Enrile, a veteran politician, said the Ilocano race has around 5 million votes spread not only in the Ilocos Region but also in some parts of Mindanao, Southern Tagalog, and Metro Manila.
“The entire country, more than 5 million,” Enrile said.
“Kaya nga sinabi ko, he will have a distinct advantage. ‘Yun ang hahabulin mo sa kanya. You are talking here of the province of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Abra, the Cordilleras, Cagayan, Isabela, Vizcaya, Quirino, and then, part of Nueva Ecija, part of Tarlac, Pangasinan, and then Mindanao, and then Mindoro,” he said.
He also said that there are many Ilocanos in Mindoro, about half of the population including in North Cotabato with 35% and Sultan Kudarat with 30%.
“There are many Ilocanos in Mindoro, di ba? About half, I think, of Mindoro. North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat. Sultan Kudarat is 30% Ilocano. North Cotabato is about 35% Ilocano,” he added.
“Oo, solid vote. And then, Southern Cotabato, the same thing. In the case of Saranggani, you have Maasim, Maitum, and several other towns,” Enrile said.
Meanwhile, Enrile expressed apprehension over the possible candidacy of Honasan, even if he is his partymate in United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) as founding members, he could have a problem with him.
“In the case of Greg, he’s now going to be pitted against several Bicolanos so, the reality of the politics of the country is who will split the Bicol votes,” Enrile said.
“Well, Gringo is my partymate so, that is my problem. While maybe my choice will be for Gringo, the fact is, I cannot even guarantee that my voters in my own province I could control for him because that is the culture of the people. Very independent ang mga Ilocano sa kanilang voting habits,” he added.