SAN FERNANDO, La Union -- A group of Ilokano lawmakers and local officials have formed an alliance to ensure Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential candidate Gilberto Teodoro’s win in Northern Luzon.

La Union First District Representative Victor Ortega during the opening of La Union trade fair Saturday said that a union, which they called “Northern Alliance,” could seal the victory of Teodoro in Northern Region which include Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

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“We have an Association of the Northern Luzon Alliance, in Congress, congressmen who come from the North. We always hold a meeting,” Ortega further said.

Aside from official members of their alliance, the La Union lawmaker said they are also expecting for the support of other officials outside their alliance who are rooting for Teodoro.

Ortega added that the support of the North to the administration candidate could spell a big difference in Teodoro’s candidacy.

As of March 2009, records from Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed that Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and CAR regions have a total of over five million registered voters.

CAR consists of provinces namely Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, and Baguio City; Ilocos Region - Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan; and Cagayan Valley composed of Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino.

“Gibo will win here (Northern Luzon),” Ortega asserted.

He also assured that majority of the towns in his province root for Teodoro.

He said among the 19 towns and one city in La Union province, only three towns have not yet pledged their support to the Harvard-trained lawyer.

But Ortega said they are still trying to win them as well as other provinces in Northern Luzon, which have not yet decided who to vote. La Union solely has about 426,000 registered voters.

The lawmaker said that although surveys are not favoring Teodoro at this moment, he could sense that ratings of their presidential bet will surge as the campaign period in the local level starts on March 26.

“He might not be doing well on survey (at this point) but wait until the campaign period for the local officials begins because that is when we will feel the surge because most of the local officials belong to Lakas-Kampi. That's when the local officials will start moving openly.”

Sortie

Saturday is the second day of Teodoro’s campaign trail in La Union. He graced the opening of Agribusiness and Trade Expo in this town’s plaza.

He was joined by Ortega and Lakas-Kampi senatorial candidate Silvestre Bello III.

After brief greetings with his fellow Ilokanos, Teodoro flew to Candon City in Ilocos Sur to attend the wedding of former Ilocos Sur governor Luis “Chavit” Singson’s son Ryan.

With Teodoro’s presence in the wedding, talks have emerged that he was trying to win the support of Chavit who has said in an earlier interview that local leaders in Ilocos were still unsure of supporting the Lakas-Kampi bet.

Teodoro downplayed this issue, saying that it was Ryan who invited him to be the principal sponsor at his wedding and not Chavit.

But if that’s the case, Teodoro said, he will work out to gain the full support of Chavit.

The former Ilocos governor has still a massive influence in Ilocos Sur.

“We have to work for each and every vote. So I mean until the last day we have to work for each and every vote. Let’s put it that way,” he said.

Ortega meanwhile believed that Teodoro’s toughest rival in Ilocos Sur and Northern Luzon is Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential bet Manny Villar.

He said Villar will not have any support from them but they might carry Bongbong Marcos who is running under NP. “Bongbong will be carried by the Ilocos (people) but Bongbong only.” (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)