Lawmaker pulls out of Iligan mayoral race
ILIGAN CITY—Citing security concerns, Rep. Vicente Belmonte Jr. said he would be withdrawing from the city’s mayoral race in next year’s polls.
“It’s final,” Belmonte told the Inquirer.
He said he had received information about a threat to his life, and that he did not want to put his life and those of his colleagues in the Liberal Party (LP) at risk. “We will be vulnerable to attacks during the campaign period. I don’t want others, including my party mates, to be victims of such attacks,” he said.
In December last year, Belmonte survived an ambush allegedly masterminded by Mayor Celso Regencia, who denied the allegations. At least 15 other suspects are still at large and “are planning to get me,” the lawmaker said.
Belmonte said he had consulted his family and party mates before reaching the decision to officially withdraw his certificate of candidacy in the elections.
He said he was trying to convince the acting city mayor, Ruderick Marzo, to be his substitute. Marzo is planning to replace Belmonte as representative for the city’s lone congressional district, and will be facing the former mayor, Lawrence Lluch Cruz.
According to Belmonte, Marzo already “agreed in principle” to the substitution but asked for some time to decide. He said it would be good for the party’s unity if Marzo would agree to run for mayor instead since Lluch Cruz is also a member of the LP.
Marzo, in a separate interview, said he was still weighing things if he would seek the mayoral seat.
“I am still in the process of convincing my family. We have to assess whether the people really want me to run for mayor. We also have to look at our resources that we will have to spend for the campaign,” he said. Richel V. Umel, Inquirer Mindanao
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