The vice presidential bid of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. got another boost today after Tarlac mayors took turns endorsing his candidacy.
Barnstorming the province of Tarlac, the hometown of President Benigno Aquino III, Marcos was warmly welcomed by local officials and thousands of residents as they accepted his message of unity.
The town mayors of the four towns he visited endorsed his candidacy as he made his way to the province. They were Mayor Benjamin Tesoro of San Manuel, Mayor Benito Aquino of Moncada, Mayor Miguel Rivilla of Paniqui Mayor Neil Agusin of Camiling.
Marcos made San Manuel the first stop of his Unity Caravan where he attended the flag-raising ceremony at the municipal hall. Tesoro, a retired colonel and classmate of the senator in Scout Ranger training, said he could not say no to Marcos.
Tesoro, a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, said that while he and the senator had been “separated by political boundaries” no such divide could exist in terms of their love for country and personal relations. He noted that the senator is the godfather of his eldest child.
“We will allow you to leave with the assurance that our town will be yours,” Tesoro said in parting, after he joined Marcos in a meeting with the chairmen of the 15 barangays of San Manuel. Tesoro also said the senator’s message for national unity is the same thing he has long been advocating in his town.
When Marcos proceeded to Moncada, Mayor Aquino (not related to Pres. Aquino), also an NPC member, was more forthright when he said he would endorse his vice presidential bid.
“Yes, I will endorse him. First, he is an Ilocano; and second, he is very close to us,” said Aquino.
Rivilla, a second cousin of President Aquino, for his part said his support of Marcos was a “personal decision”. The senator earlier told the crowd that greeted him at the municipal hall that their families were so close that he treated Rivilla like his youngest sibling.
Rivilla is running for vice governor of the province as an independent candidate.
But it was Agustin also of the NPC who was the most vocal and open in his support for Marcos as he declared himself a “Marcos loyalist.”
Speaking before 61 barangay chairmen of Camiling and other barangay officials gathered at the Camiling Sports Complex, Agustin urged them to unite and support the vice presidential bid of Marcos. “Bongbong Marcos is the son of an Ilocano. We are Ilocanos here in Camiling. Let us help him; let us make Bongbong our Vice President,” Agustin said.
In going around Tarlac, Marcos reiterated his call for national unity, saying it would be difficult for the Filipino people to achieve a brighter and more progressive future for the country unless everyone unites toward a common goal.
Thousands of residents welcomed Marcos as they lined the streets to witness his Unity Caravan saying working together is what the country needs to do at this point.