Hugpong bets woo voters in Marcos stronghold

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 18 2019 05:51 PM

LAOAG CITY - Senatorial candidates under the pro-administration slate Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) on Monday set foot in Ilocos Norte, the stronghold of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, as they wooed the voters from the so-called “solid north.”

Ilocos Governor Imee Marcos received a warm welcome from her fellow Ilocanos at Laoag’s Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena, as she hosted her fellow HNP candidates in her province.

In typical Marcos fashion, the host political family pulled out all the stops in welcoming the HNP bets, putting up a beautifully decorated stage and preparing grand productions featuring the Ilocano culture.

Also present during the Ilocos Norte sortie were Imee’s son, Matthew Marcos Manotoc, who is running for governor, as well as incumbent Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba.

The late president Marcos had led a dictatorial regime marked by repression of free speech, human rights abuses, and plunder, among others. 

The Marcos family is still facing several cases in court over alleged abuses but continues to command loyal following. 

President Rodrigo Duterte, a known friend of the Marcos family, allowed the late dictator's burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in November 2016, in rites held hurriedly away from public eye.

Duterte's late father Vicente served in Marcos' pre-martial law cabinet.

The President has made no secret his admiration for the late strongman, saying the Philippines is better off “choosing a dictator” like him.