Opinion

How was politics in Iligan not so long ago?

A mere rumored life-threat won’t faze a true leader

Here’s a piece I wrote in November 2015, about five years ago, that talks about politics in the City of Iligan where the then congressman Vharf Belmonte ran for mayor against the incumbent Celso Regencia only to withdraw before the final voting day. The story goes this way:

I used to believe in Vharf Belmonte, the incumbent congressman of the lone district of Iligan City, as a great leader; one whose loyalty is for his constituents or whose great concern is the welfare of his people, even if it is above his own. I thought he would sacrifice his own interest for the sake of Iligan and the Iliganons.

That is why when he filed his Certificate of Candidacy for the city chief executive, I felt glad that at least Iligan would have another good mayor should he win, which was not impossible if he did not quit..

Now I was wrong.

When story goes on the air among local broadcasters that Vharf is withdrawing from the race due to THREAT to his life, and in the name of Party Unity, and indorse Acting Mayor Rudy Marzo, I have to think twice or reassess my conviction.

I had a feeling that Vharf filed his Certificate of Candidacy with strong faith in himself as the strongest candidate against Celso G. Regencia, the incumbent city mayor who is in jail now for various charges including that of the ambush of the congressman sometime ago.

I am not certain if Regencia is really guilty of all the accusations against him. I believe in the maxim that an accused remains innocent unless otherwise proven guilty. On the other hand, I neither take him as a saint.

But I still believed that without Vharf, Regencia has the edge over all the candidates including OIC Mayor Rudy Marzo, in case he ran against him.

Marzo is underdog.

The months he took over the city leadership has proven too little that he could run the city very well to convince the Iliganons side with him even in elections time.

His obsession for power as obviously manifested when he did not give in to Lawrence for the congressional race, and instead ran opposing him even as party-less or independent is another thing that electors are trying deeply think of.

It would have been laudable if he stick to returning to vice mayor.

The situation is giving setback to the Liberal Party in the city to which Belmonte, Lawrence and Marzo belong. Disunity is always a weakness, and can be a strong tendency for defeat.

Speaking of Belmonte’s indorsement of Marzo as his substitute, a story allegedly coming from an election official said Marzo may be disqualified to run as city mayor. Whatever reason he had given, I have a feeling that Marzo could not get the indorsement of Liberal Party after he filed his COC as an independent candidate for congressman.

If this be true, this is another blow to his political career.

On the other hand, Belmonte may just find himself isolated by the good people of Iligan who may consider his decision to abandon the race as a betrayal to them.

Now, it will not be long before the next elections. And as Regencia is about to complete a nine-year successive terms, he cannot run for the top Iligan City post in 2022. The question now is: whether Belmonte is coming back to the race or support another? (RSP)

Categories: Opinion

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