Duterte of the South woos the Solid North

Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte visits Ilocos Norte – stronghold of the so-called Solid North vote.

Will he clinch the support of the Marcos bailiwick?

Pia Ranada reports.

PIA RANADA, REPORTING: I’m here in front of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol. This is presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte’s first stop in a sortie intended to woo the Northern Luzon vote.

Following a motorcade, Duterte pays a courtesy call to Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos.

In front of the province’s local government officials, he makes his pitch for federalism.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Federalism is, wala talaga eh, pati yung distribution. Pagdating dun sa Congress, sa kanila lang, kung sino magdiskarte doon. Ang pinaka malapit sa Malacañang, they get.

The only option left, and pinaka huling baraha natin to find peace in Minadnao is federalism. Short of that Ma’am, delikado talaga, puputok ito. Ang problema, kasi kami naman doon sa Mindanao ang nag-aaway. Kaya sabi ko sa mga Moro leaders, you know itong BBL noong unang basa ko sa draft Ma’am, sabi ko hindi ito lulusot. I had already my misgivings. That is why I started to parlay federalism.

(Federalism, no other choice, because now there’s a problem with distribution. In Congress, it’s up to them, whoever is closest to Malacañang gets the funding…Our last card to find peace in Mindanao is federalism. Short of that Ma’am, it’s dangerous, it will explode. The problem is, we in Mindanao are fighting. That’s why I told Moro leaders, you know this BBL, when I first read the draft, I said it wouldn’t push through.)

With Imee, Duterte visits the resting place of her father, the former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Duterte says Marcos deserves a hero’s burial.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because he was president of the republic of the philippines, and he was a soldier and he was good. But nagtanong na lang kasi ang tao kasi wala nang nakita kundi pagkakamali. People judge best when they condemn. You are at your best element, esp yung kasiraan ng kapwa mo. 

(But people are questioning because they see nothing but errors…You are at your best element when you are destroying the reputation of your fellow human being.)

The dictator’s son, Senator Bongbong Marcos, is running for vice president.

Some groups want a Duterte-Marcos tandem elected in May.

JOSE CALIDA, DUTERTE-MARCOS SUPPORTER: It’s called Alyansang Duterte Bongbong, Aldub.

Q: So what are you fighting for sir? Why do you support Bongbong and Duterte as a tandem?

Personally because I am not a member of any party, I volunteered for this job because I beleive the Philippines needs real change and the best tandem so far would be Mayor Duterte from Davao representing Mindanao and Senator Bongbong Marcos representing Luzon especially Northern Luzon. These two? They have charisma, they have vision and they are sincere in their efforts to effect change in the Philippines. 

There are almost 380,000 registered voters in Ilocos Norte.

Did the tough-talking mayor from the South convince the people of the North?

We’ll find out in May.

Pia Ranada, Rappler, Laoag City. – Rappler.com