LIBERAL Party standard bearer Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, along with popular sister Kris, on Thursday set foot for the first time in Ilocos - the bailiwick of the alleged mastermind behind their father's death.

While Noynoy earlier admitted that he believes the key to his father's assassination is still alive in the US, he said lawyers have advised him that the 20-year prescription period for the revival of the case has elapsed.

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“We still have to ask our legal counsel if we can still revive the case because there is a dictum that if it has not been raised in court within 20 years, it cannot be revived anymore,” he said in a sortie in Ilocos Norte.

Noynoy however clarified that he does not hold Marcos siblings Imee, Irene, and Bongbong accountable for the murder.

“But I am not taking it personally. I think I said it publicly 12 years ago, I don't consider Imee, Irene or Bongbong as the culprits. I think I said that we are all victims of the circumstance during those times,” he added.

Ilocos Norte is known as the prime bailiwick of the Marcoses - rivals of the Aquinos since the Martial law era.

Former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was suspected to be behind the murder of opposition senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., father of Noynoy and Kris. Their mother, Corazon Aquino, became president via Edsa revolution.

Kris meanwhile echoed that she has also been civil about the Marcoses, especially after Bongbong and Imee visited Cory's wake last year.

“I just want to say, in their visiting and condoling with my Mom, it took a lot of courage on their part to go and express their sympathy. Everything in the past has not been resolved but I think now is not the time to say something bad,” she said.

Kris admitted having a sleepless night and praying the rosary twice during their flight to Ilocos Norte.

“First time in my 39 years of existence... even in Ilocos Sur, not yet. Same with Noy, we haven't set foot here before,” Kris said.

The controversial host actress added that a “divine intervention” pushed her to finally go to Ilocos Norte when she bumped into former first lady Imelda Marcos last Sunday in church.

“Of course, I was shy to greet her, 'Hello. I'm Kris.' But maybe it was a sign for me to go and just see what happens," she said.

The North is known to have one solid vote.

But Ilocos Norte Governor Michael Keon said there is truth in reports that the North may not have one solid vote.

“We now have younger electorate that is more discerning and more discriminate and that times have changed,” he said.

According to Keon, Nacionalista Party standard bearer Manuel “Manny” Villar is the front-running candidate in the area, with Gilbert Teodoro (Lakas-Kampi-CMD) coming in at second, Joseph Estrada (Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino) at third, and Noynoy at fourth spot.

“The thing that endears Gilbert Teodoro to the Ilocanos is because he speaks the Ilokano language but I believe the front-running presidential candidate right now is Manny Villar,” Keon said.

But the governor stressed that Noynoy “has support here,” citing he was able to place 11th in the 2007 senatorial race.

Keon, who is a cousin of the Marcos siblings, welcomed the delegation to the Capitol.

Despite the blood affiliation and being part of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, Keon is seen with Noynoy in posters all over Ilocos Norte.

“The reason why you see pictures of me and Noynoy around the city is because the Liberal Party has adopted me as their gubernatorial candidate,” Keon explained.

Keon is running for reelection against cousin Imee, who herself is a former Ilocos representative. (Angela Casauay/Sunnex)