By Joseph B.A. Marzan
A former Sangguniang Bayan (SB) member of an Iloilo town on Friday announced that he had dropped what would have been his political comeback.
In a Facebook video post, former Barotac Nuevo town councilor Jesus Dimafiles said the local Nacionalista Party (NP) leadership pushed him to endorse former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in the presidential elections.
This, amid his family’s public support for Marcos Jr.’s rival Vice President Leni Robredo.
“In the past few days, I posted on my Facebook account the support for the candidate endorsed by [Nacionalista Party]. Many were surprised, confused, and there were those who were disappointed by us,” said Dimafiles in a video posted on Facebook.
Dimafiles said that the move “hurt him inside” and “made him sleepless” days after coming out for the late dictator’s son.
He cited his days at the University of the Philippines Visayas, where he said he “understood the national situation during the Ferdinand Marcos Sr. era.”
He also mentioned the experience of his father, who had been the core group of the late former Antique governor Evelio Javier, and who also was in the province’s capital San Jose when the island’s hero was shot dead.
But even as he had complied, allegedly against his will, the NP ticket led by re-electionist Barotac Nuevo Mayor Bryant Paul Biron dropped him from their ranks.
“I was required by our political leadership to declare public support [for Marcos]. Me and my family are known supporters of [Robredo]. It hurt me and my heart, and it made me sleepless for days. I complied with what was required of me out of due respect to our political leaders and as a party member. Incidentally, despite my compliance, they still dropped me from the lineup,” he said.
This incident, he said, pushed him to quit the race entirely instead of treading on as an independent candidate.
He instead will focus his time on campaigning locally for Robredo, who he said was “who the nation needed”.
“I will focus on campaigning for the president we believe in, who our country needs, because this cause goes beyond my political career. In this election, there will be a great impact to the future of our children,” he said.
Dimafiles served as town councilor from 2010 to 2019, succeeded after three consecutive terms by his daughter Anne-Anne.
NP provincial chair and 4th district congressional candidate Ferjenel Biron belied Dimafiles’ claim that the latter was dropped from their ticket unannounced.
Biron said that he had warned the ex-councilor to make up his mind on his stance, citing a Facebook post of his personal stance last Feb. 27, three days after the Marcos-Duterte ‘UniTeam’ rally in the town.
He added that Dimafiles and his daughter had already known that national NP leadership had mandated the party’s support for the UniTeam since January, based on a meeting they had last January in Iloilo City.
Daily Guardian attempted to verify the existence of Dimafiles’ Feb. 27 post but it cannot be traced or found anymore.
“I told [Dimafiles] to make up his mind. If you cannot join us in supporting [Marcos Jr. and Duterte] considering that you are a part of [NP], I will drop you,” Biron said in a radio interview on Saturday.
The former lawmaker also cleared that it was Anne-Anne Dimafiles who had asked for her father to be included in their ticket as she intended to migrate overseas.
At the time they had met to form their slate, the local NP slate had no presidential candidate yet, as they were waiting for instructions from their national organization.
“There are a good number of contenders who want to join our group, but I gave [the Dimafileses] priority. I just want to put on record that they were the ones who asked to be included in the Nacionalista Party ticket,” he added.
He remarked, however, that Dimafiles may still campaign for Robredo, saying “she was qualified”.