In an unexpected move, Michael Keon has withdrawn from the Mayoralty race in Laoag yesterday, saying he does not want to be the cause of division within the Marcos Family. It was widely believed that while Ilocos Norte Governor Imee, hugely popular and unopposed, endorses thecandidacy of Chevylle Fariñas, incumbent mayor Michael’s wife, the rest of the family—Madame Imelda, Senator Bongbong, and Ms. Irene—are behind Keon. There were also speculations that Ms. Imee will eventually junk Chevylle and help pick up the political pieces for her first cousin whom she beat, with a thrashing margin, in the 2010 gubernatorial race.
Michael Keon’s candidacy was already gaining a lot of steam, especially among those who have grown tired of Fariñases, especially in recent months when family members have become fierce political enemies. Keon’s withdrawal is bittersweet news for the Fariñas Clan. While this would surely mean a more bitter infighting within them, Keon’s resignation also means one thing: the next mayor of the City of Laoag will still be a Fariñas.
So, who benefits from this development? For sure, the Marcos endorsement became stronger and more credible, and those who subscribe to the mantra of “One Ilocos Norte” and want to make sure that the mayor of Laoag is Governor Imee’s ally so that programs and projects in the pipeline can go without kinks might turn to Chevylle.
However, we also have to understand that supporters of Keon are not supporters of the incumbent. Meaning, the mere fact that they were supporting Keon and not the current mayor’s wife means they were looking for an alternative.
The challenge now then is for Roger Fariñas, who now finds himself on a one-on-one fight with Chevylle, to prove that he is a worthy alternative to the incumbent’s wife. (Well, there is former Mayor Cesar Ventura as third candidate but even he believes that only a miracle would bring him back to the City Hall: People are laughing at some of his proposed projects and at his clear lack of ability to wage a decent campaign.)
Roger has been doing the rounds in barangays to expose the sins—graft and corruption acts—of the Fariñas couple. To win votes, he must sound credible in his allegations and reassure the electorate that he won’t be a bigger monster when elected. The challenge for the Fariñas couple is to answer these allegations and clear their name.
Surely, it’s tougher times for Roger who will not only have to contend with Michael and Chevylle, but with the Marcos Family as well.
It will be a big embarrassment for the Marcos Family, and more so now that Keon has withdrawn, if Roger wins.
For now, Chevylle, who also counts the support of around 95 percent of barangay captains as per her estimate, has the upper hand.