Manila Standard : Will the Marcoses be able to solidify Ilocos votes in 2022?

News & Interviews
21 August 2021

By Dindo Danao | Manila Standard

"The Fariñas and Marcos political families have coexisted peacefully in Ilocos Norte for decades."

This early no one can tell if there would be a solid Marcos vote in Ilocos Norte this coming May 2022 presidential elections. Even seasoned political analysts may not have the wisdom to project the true outcome of the electoral contest. But one thing sure, it will be an interesting fight between the two powerful political clans—the Marcoses and the Fariñases, if they field their own candidates by the first week of October 2021 for the first congressional district in Ilocos Norte.

A daughter of the Fariñas family stands in the way of a full political domination by the Marcos clan in Ilocos Norte province, as reports emerge that the eldest son of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is ready to join the political arena in the First District of the province.

Ilocos Norte First District Representative Ria Christina G. Fariñas is expected to seek reelection and thwart the plan of the Marcos family to increase the already numerous political seats they hold.

Ria is the daughter of the Fariñas patriarch, former Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas and former actress Maria Teresa Carlson. The Fariñas family has ruled the First District of Ilocos Norte for over four decades, co-existing with the Marcos family in the Second District.

In a YouTube video, Bongbong Marcos was quoted as saying that his eldest son, Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos, is qualified to run for a congressional district in Ilocos Norte.

Bongbong later said his son could run for a House seat to represent the First District of the province.

Sandro is the grandson of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and former first lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.

Bongbong Marcos, who claimed to have won the 2016 vice-presidential race, is expected to seek another national position in the 2022 elections.

His sister, Imee, is an incumbent senator while his nephew, Matthew Marcos, is currently the governor of Ilocos Norte. Matthew's aunt, Cecille Araneta Marcos, is vice governor. Eugenio Angelo Marcos Barba was elected as representative of the Second District, in place of former first lady Imelda Marcos. Another Marcos’ scion, Michael Marcos Keon, is the mayor of Laoag City.

Standing in their way is Ria Christina G. Fariñas, a member of the ruling PDP-Laban Party who served as board member of Ilocos Norte for six years before being elected as member of the House of Representatives in 2019, making her the first ever female representative of the district.

The likely Marcos-Fariñas face-off in the 2022 congressional race in the First District would weaken the bid of Bongbong Marcos for a national position, as they would further split the electorate of Ilocos Norte.

Rudy Fariñas, who served as provincial governor of Ilocos Norte from 1988 to 1998 and as congressman representing First District from 2010 to 2019, withdrew from the 2019 gubernatorial race to give way to Imee’s son Matthew Marcos Manotoc who ran unopposed.

The Fariñas and Marcos political families have coexisted peacefully in Ilocos Norte for decades, as they ruled the province into two districts, one controlled by the Fariñas family and the other by the Marcos clan.

Members of the Marcos family, however, began to intrude into the First District of Ilocos Norte as early as 2015. In May of that year, Imee notified the Comelec that she was a resident of Laoag City which is under District 1 while the three sons of Bongbong—Sandro, Joseph Simon, and Vincent—also registered as voters of Laoag City.

An attempt by the third generation of the Marcos family to shake this political co-existence and intrude the First District will erode the political base of the Marcoses in the province and thereby affect their national aspirations.

Political pundits will surely find this Marcos-Fariñas face-off interesting in the May 2022 presidential elections. It is worth national attention and observation.

Dindo A. Danao is a seasoned public relations strategist. He has published hundreds of news articles that concern corporate business, legislature, politics, agriculture, and foreign affairs.