UNA bets woo Marcoses, 'solid north'

By Alexis Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 23 2013 07:11 AM | Updated as of Apr 23 2013 03:11 PM

LAOAG, Ilocos Norte, Philippines – One is a former rebel soldier who joined a revolt against the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The other is a son of a former defense minister who called for the dictator’s ouster.

But as elections near, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial bets Sen. Gringo Honasan and Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile are seeking the support of the Marcoses, believing that reconciliation would enable the country to move forward.

“The sooner we agree on what constitutes public and national interest, the sooner we will set aside personality difference, the sooner we will move forward with less political baggage,” Honasan, who participated in the 1986 revolt against Marcos, told reporters yesterday.

Enrile said his family has good relations with the Marcoses.

“I think they have buried the hatchet and I hope that the next generations from both sides of the family, if given the opportunity, will learn to work with one another,” Enrile said.

“UNA will always seek the support of the leadership of this country. We know the Marcoses have a long relationship with the people of the entire Ilocos region and we hope to be able to ask them for their support,” he added.

However, the Marcoses may not publicly endorse senatorial candidates.

“I’m not going to make endorsements, we’re on the other side of the fence. You’ll get me into trouble,” said Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, who hosted lunch for UNA bets here.

Marcos belongs to the Nacionalista Party, which is part of the Team PNoy coalition.

The governor said she just wanted to meet with her friends in UNA.

“Jack was actually my seatmate in Congress and Greg (Honasan) and I were in several campaigns together,” she said.

The 1986 People Power revolt ousted Marcos and catapulted President Aquino’s mother Corazon Aquino to the presidency.

Honasan admitted that the support of the so-called “solid North,” including Ilocos Norte, would be significant.

“It can make or break candidacies and candidates,” he said.

Honasan said an alliance with the Marcoses would not be awkward. He added that he has been gaining support from Ilocos despite his role in the 1986 EDSA revolt.

“The first time I ran I think I placed second here and that was not long after 1986,” the re-electionist senator said.

“I think our countrymen here realize that whatever happened in 1986 was a principled stance not against any government but for good government, for reforms, they sorted things out, and they supported us,” he added.

“We belong to one country, the less contentious our relationships are with one another, the more united we can become for the better of this country, and that’s not just purely a motherhood statement,” Enrile said.

“We see enough contention in all levels of government, in all relationships and it is our hope that once enough time has passed that people would start to learn to live with one another.”

Ilocos Norte has about 400,000 voters.

Meanwhile, during a campaign sortie of UNA candidates in Vigan City on Saturday, Vice President Jejomar Binay told The STAR he is not changing his stand favoring political dynasty even if he becomes president in 2016.

Binay, whose son is running for mayor of Makati for a second term and daughter Nancy is running for senator, dismissed criticisms that he is building a political dynasty.

He said it is up to the people to decide who to vote for, regardless if the candidates come from political families.

“It is not an issue in other countries like in India and United States,” he noted.

He added that political dynasty is not an issue if elections are clean and peaceful. – With Teddy Molina