LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — Political leaders in the province led by reelectionist Gov. Amado “Pogi” Espino III and Pangasinan congressman and gubernatorial candidate Ramon “Mon-Mon” V. Guico III on Saturday endorsed the presidential and vice presidential tandem of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, adding up Pangasinan to the Solid North’s overwhelming support of the UniTeam candidates.
In backing Marcos and Duterte, key leaders from the vote-rich province of the country have temporarily set aside local politics and party affiliations to rally behind the sure-winner tandem that got the overwhelming approval of Ilocanos during its week-long campaign in Northern Luzon.
Espino, a stalwart of the administration party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), led provincial officials, including Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil of the National Unity Party (NUP), in welcoming Duterte at the Provincial Capitol.
Duterte came from a campaign in the neighboring province of La Union where she and Marcos got the support and endorsement of officials led by Gov. Emmanuel “Pacoy” Ortega III of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
“Of course siyempre, kung ano naman, very loyal naman po tayo at the same time kay Presidente [Rodrigo Roa Duterte], siyempre ‘yung programa ng ating President malamang itutuloy rin naman…ng ating mahal na magiging Vice President Sara,” Espino said in an interview at the Provincial Capitol here when asked if his team’s warm welcome to Duterte translates to endorsement.
Asked about the kind of support Pangasinan can commit to Marcos and Duterte, the governor said “of course, nandito naman sa Ilocos at siyempre Ilocano speaking dito, hindi na matatanong pa ‘yon.”
“Ilocos province ito, Ilocos region siyempre masasabi mo na rin yon ngayon, [for] BBM-Sara dahil nandito na si Ma’am Sara, lagi ko naman sinasabi ‘yung anong loyalty ko sa ating Presidente siyempre naibibigay? natin sa ating vice president, kay Ma’am Sara at kung saan si Ma’am Sara, nandoon ako siyempre,” Espino added.
For his opponent Guico, a stalwart of the Nacionalista Party (NP), said a landslide victory for BBM-Sara is imminent in vote-rich Pangasinan, which has almost two million registered voters.
“Regardless of political colors, I think Pangasinan is united for BBM-Sara,” Guico said in a separate ambush interview in Alaminos City before Duterte inaugurated the SARA for VP Alaminos Headquarters. “Oo I’m very confident [it’s a landslide]…almost all of our group ‘yung Team Aguila, we are fully supporting the vice presidential bid of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte. Lahat po kami full support. Kaya all districts na-represent dito sa event na ito,” said the aspiring governor.
Also in Alaminos City during the inauguration of SARA for VP Alaminos Headquarters, Pangasinan Rep. Christopher V.P. De Venecia and former Pangasinan Rep. Rachael Arenas, who is running for Congress this election, assured of BBM-Sara victory in the province.
For her part, Arenas, another Lakas-CMD member, said :”I am very happy for our Vice President Inday Sara Duterte. Pangasinan is united for her, so natutuwa po ako to see all parties gathering together to support Mayor Inday Sara.”
Former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), former Alaminos City Mayor Arthur Celeste, NP, and other Pangasinan local leaders joined the inauguration of headquarters.
Ortega and Espino were not the only governors in Northern Luzon who belong to other political parties, but who have decided to support Marcos and Duterte as they campaign for the Ilocano votes. With Jester Manalastas