ILIGAN CITY District Rep. Vicente Belmonte, Jr., has withdrawn his candidacy for mayoral race in the city to spare his family and party mates from reported death threats after he survived an ambush last year.
The withdrawal of Belmonte, also chairman of the Liberal Party (LP) in Iligan, from the 2016 polls also resolved the issue between two of their party members contending for a congressional seat in the national elections.
The last lawmaker on Monday submitted his affidavit of withdrawal and endorsed acting Mayor Ruderic Marzo as his substitute.
Marzo, who was supposed to face another LP member former city mayor Lawrence Lluch Cruz, also withdrew his candidacy for congressman to substitute Belmonte and face the detained mayor Celso Regencia who has filed COC for city mayor while in detention for alleged masterminding the ambush in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental last year.
Belmonte earlier admitted to The Manila Times that his decision of withdrawal from coming election was to support Marzo and Cruz, which “agreed upon” by his party mates and family, besides from alleged death threat he is facing.
Belmonte, who survived the ambush in December 11 last, claimed that other suspects, beside from Regencia, are still out to take him, citing sources from intelligence communities.
He said he did not want to risk other people lives, specially his party mates and family members, from any alleged imminent attacks by the fugitives.
Belmonte’s convoy was ambushed in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental last December that left three of his escorts killed and injured others. He sustained minor injury during the attack.
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Northern Mindanao has filed the case before Misamis Oriental municipal trial court indicting 15 suspects in the ambush including the arrested one Dominador Tumala and mayor Regencia, who is still detained at Iligan City Police Jail.
Tumala, who turned into a state witness, pointed mayor Regencia as the mastermind of the ambush.
Regencia, once served as Iligan City Police Chief, had denied accusations of both Tumala and Belmonte.