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BAGUIO CITY – Leaders of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan in Baguio City and Benguet province on Wednesday, April 13, dumped presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., heir of the dictator who established their party.
At a press conference here, KBL Provincial Chairperson Bernard Ellamil announced Marcos’ rival, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, as their new bet.
Ellamil and nine of KBL’s district coordinators resigned from the party, adding they could shift the votes of 3,000 followers to Moreno.
But Ellamil stressed that the KBL’s national leadership does not support their move and party officials running for office were free to make their choice.
There are five candidates in Benguet under KBL, including Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan, running for Congress, and gubernatorial bet Jerry Marave.
“One of the many reasons why [we chose Isko is he] acts and works faster and there are proofs of what he has accomplished and that these are not just promises,” Ellamil said in a mix of Filipino and English.
The local KBL leaders said they have been working to promote Marcos, Jr. since September last year, using their own resources.
Baguio District 9 coordinator Mary Jane Bagay said the Marcos camp failed to deliver their promised allowance.
She added that Marcos’ camp has not talked to them since September last year.
District 7’s Susan Matic, who comes from a family of Marcos loyalists and was the first to decide to flip to Isko, said that two years into the pandemic, they never felt any assistance from Marcos, Jr.
“We waited for BBM for months. The pandemic came and went; we went through hardships, we were hoping for a little help just to get by as promised, but it never came,” she said.
Ellamil said the issues raised by the district coordinators are long-standing concerns. According to him, support took a long while to reach them, and if it did, it was usually not enough for all the campaigners.
“We were hoping to at least have a t-shirt that we can wear as a uniform, but they gave us only a hundred (pieces), which is not enough,” he added.
Alliance for Isko Movement Cordillera chair Aries Mendoza welcomed the development, noting it as a positive development in an area known to be a Marcos bailiwick.
Mendoza claimed to be the chair of Koalisyong Bongbong Marcos. He decided to shift to Isko after “weighing the presidential candidates’ positive and negative” aspects.
According to him, a candidate for the country’s highest position having an unpaid P203 billion estate tax is not good.
He added that the achievements that supporters attribute to Marcos, Jr. were actually his father’s.
“Someone with a heavy baggage like this is not qualified to be president,” Mendoza said. – Rappler.com
Sherwin de Vera is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.