April 23, 2016 at 12:01 am
Christine F. Herrera
ALAMINOS CITY, Pangasinan—It’s Binay-Marcos in Alaminos to prove there is a “Solid North.”
It was most awkward for the camp of opposition United Nationalist Alliance presidential candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay to see the vice president delivering a speech on stage with a huge Binay-Marcos tarpaulin as backdrop.
However, Marcos’ tarpaulin with Binay and reelectionist Pangasinan Rep. Jesus Celeste, who hosted the rally, was all over the rally site at Plaza Braganza covered court.
Conspicuously absent in the campaign rally here was Binay’s running mate Senator Gregorio Honasan even if Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was also not present.
Except for retired Special Action Force chief Getulio Napeñas, who is from La Union and is backed by the Solid North, the rest of UNA candidates did not go up on stage in deference to Honasan.
“We want to prove there is a Solid North and even in Congress, I am a member of the Northern Alliance, a group of lawmakers who are all from the North and we vote as a bloc. In this case, the Solid North will also vote as a bloc,” Celeste explained.
Binay addressed the 5,000 audience clad in blue shirts chanting the words “Binay, Bongbong [Marcos], Boying [Celeste].”
Posters of their names and faces were also set up around the stage during the campaign rally.
Celeste and other local officials wore polo shirts with embroidered words on the chest “President Binay, Vice President Marcos” emblazoned on a Philippine flag badge in front, and the words “Solid North” at the back.
In an interview with reporters after the rally, Binay said he respected Celeste and the local government’s decision to support Marcos instead of Honasan.
“Let’s see if that is what the people want. In an honest and peaceful election, we will have to respect it,” Binay said.
Celeste said the local officials in his district support Marcos because the latter is a fellow Ilocano.
Marcos’ father and namesake, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, hails from Ilocos Norte.
“Bongbong Marcos is an Ilocano. He is one of our friends. [Binay] is also Ilocano, we also speak in Ilocano. So long as you’re Ilocano, the rapport is just there. That is the Solid North and we will prove there is a Solid North,” Celeste said.
Marcos has been leading the vice presidential surveys, despite controversies of human rights violations hounding his family for the past 30 years.
Binay’s Pangasinan sortie was the most hectic so far with three rallies in Alaminos, Dagupan and Binmaley in Pangasinan.
The Binay camp, which left Manila as early as 5 a.m., started doing the motorcades and rallies at 10 a.m. and ended the sorties past 7 p.m.
Binay will take a break on Saturday to prepare for the last presidential debate on Sunday.