MANILA (5th UPDATE) - Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas dropped his election bid for governor on Thursday, leaving a grandson of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos unopposed for the province's highest post.
The 67-year-old lawmaker said his withdrawal from the gubernatorial race was not the product of an agreement with the Marcos family, adding that he will retire from politics.
“Sixty-seven na ako, gusto ko ng maging private person (I'm 67 already, I want to be a private citizen),” he said.
With less than 2 weeks before the May 13 elections, he filed his withdrawal at the Commission on Elections around 9 a.m., wearing a pair of slippers, shorts and a shirt.
This leaves Ilocos Norte board member Matthew Marcos Manotoc as the sole candidate for governor. He is a grandson of former first lady and Ilocos Norte 2nd District Rep. Imelda Marcos.
Fariñas earlier initiated a legislative investigation into the Ilocos Norte capitol's acquisition of vehicles without public bidding.
His daughter, Ria, is seeking to succeed him in the House of Representatives. His niece, Chevylle Fariñas, is running for mayor of Laoag City, while his son, Rodolfo Farinas III, is a candidate for provincial board member.
Fariñas said he would not have run in the first place had the Marcoses stuck to an agreement that they would not oppose the election bids of Ria and Chevylle.
Ria is running against Remigio Medrano, a Marcos ally.
"Hindi naman talaga ako kakandidato, niliwanag ko na ‘yan, maski noong kausap ‘yung mga leader, si Bongbong din nag-usap kami na hindi kami kakandidato," he said.
(I was not supposed to run, I admitted that earlier, even when we were talking with the leaders. Bongbong and I also discussed that we were not going to run.)
Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, mother of Manotoc, denied any agreement with the Fariñases.
"Matagal na niyang gustong mag-withdraw (He has long been planning to withdraw). It really doesn't come as a surprise," she said.
The Fariñas patriarch was a governor before winning a seat in the House of Representatives. — Report from Grace Alba, ABS-CBN News