LEGAZPI CITY: Sorsogon City mayoral candidate Leovic Dioneda of the PDP-Laban ticket died of a heart attack on Tuesday, three weeks before the May 10 elections.
Dioneda, a former soldier and member of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), passed away at about 9 p.m. on Tuesday, according to Ron Espinosa, spokesperson for the Dioneda family.
He served as Sorsogon City mayor from June 2007 until June 2013.
On Monday, Dioneda went to campaign sorties in the morning and took lunch at his residence in Buhatan village, where he rested before the afternoon campaign.
Shortly afterwards, he was found unconscious inside his room, and was brought to the Sorsogon MMG Hospital and placed under the intensive care unit (ICU) where he showed signs of recovery.
Dioneda was contesting the mayoral seat against incumbent mayor Sarah Lee, wife of outgoing Sorsogon governor Raul Lee, whose son Robert was fielded to succeed his post.
His son Eric is running against the younger Lee for the gubernatorial post.
In 2013, the younger Dioneda made an unsuccessful run for the gubernatorial post but narrowly lost to Lee.
The political battle for the top post in Sorsogon province is a neck-and-neck fight between Eric Dioneda and Robert ‘Bobet’ Lee-Rodrigueza.
The younger Lee served as provincial administrator of his father but during Sen. Grace Poe’s sortie in Sorsogon, the Lees were present, including LP political allies in local positions.
Meanwhile, the Dionedas reportedly experienced harassment from suspected New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas for failure to secure a “permit to campaign” from the rebels.
Philippine National Police (PNP)-Bicol regional spokesperson Malu Calubaquib, said that Dioneda personally reported the incident, saying that on April 3 a group of about 20 armed men stopped their political rally at the village hall of Buhatan. The suspects allegedly poked an AK47 rifle at the younger Deoneda and ordered him, including the entire ticket of the PDP-Laban to stop the political rally.
Police said the armed men ordered all candidates to drop facing the ground and told them that they will die if they continue the activities of local party candidates in the province without the NPA “permission.”