Lawmaker withdraws from Iligan mayoral race due to death threats
ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – Citing security concerns, Rep. Vicente Belmonte Jr. said he has decided to withdraw from the mayoral race in next year’s polls.
Belmonte said he consulted his family and party mates before reaching the decision.
“It’s final,” Belmonte told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
He said he has received information that the threat to his life has persisted. He said he did not want to risk his life and those of his colleagues in the Liberal Party.
In December 2014, Belmonte survived an ambush allegedly masterminded by Mayor Celso Regencia, who denied the allegations.
Belmonte said at least 15 other suspects in the ambush have remained at large and “are planning to get me.”
“We will be vulnerable to attacks during the campaign period. I don’t want others, including my party mates, to be victims of such attack,” he said.
But Belmonte said he would only withdraw his certificate of candidacy if acting city mayor Ruderick Marzo agreed to be his substitute.
Marzo is eyeing to replace Belmonte as representative for the city’s lone congressional district. He will face former city mayor Lawrence Lluch Cruz.
Belmonte said Marzo running for mayor would be good for the Liberal Party as he would not have to go against Lluch Cruz, another LP member, in the congressional race.
Belmonte said Marzo had already “agreed in principle” to the substitution, but had asked for some time to decide.
Marzo, in a separate interview, said he was still weighing things if he would run for mayor.
“I am still in the process of convincing my family. We have to assess whether the people really want me to run as mayor. We also have to look at our resources that we will have to spend for the campaign,” Marzo said. SFM