Mayor Jimenez abandons Dato, joins LRay Villafuerte

LIBMANAN, CAMARINES SUR—Choking back sobs, Libmanan town Mayor Marilyn Jimenez confirmed today that she has abandoned her long political patron and ally, incumbent Congressman Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo, and joined the group of former governor LRay Villafuerte, Jr.

“I did not consult my group and partymates. I did not ask permission nor consulted with Cong. Dato Arroyo. Only my husband, two other friends and I decided on the matter,” Jimenez said in an interview over BBS-DWLV radio.

“I do not want to waste my term. I feel helpless as I could not deliver the services that I had promised to our constituents. There is but only one year left before the next political exercise. I should decide now,” Jimenez emphasized in the interview.

Alleged three demands

BBS-DWLV’s David Dollano, in his program, asked if it is true that she made three demands to the former governor, namely: (1) that the town’s 2014 budget would be passed by the Sangguniang Bayan, which is controlled by LRay Villafuerte; (2) that the Small Town Lottery (STL) operations would be allowed to resume in their locality and (3) P1,000,000 earnest money.

In the radio broadcast, she admitted that she demanded for the approval of the 2014 annual budget. It would be recalled that said budget was earlier disapproved by the Sangguniang Bayan.

With regard to the Small Town Lottery (STL) operation, she said that its operation is legal.

Meanwhile, she denied that she asked for P1,000,000 in exchange for her decision to jump ship.

Records show that Jimenez is facing several administrative cases now pending with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Allegedly, she was told by an emissary of LRay that she will be slapped with a suspension order if she opts not to join LRay’s camp.


What possibly exacerbated the transfer of Jimenez to the opposite political fence was the decision of the STL operator to temporarily stop its operation in the said town, reports say.

On condition of anonymity, a local leader revealed that the resumption of the STL operation in this town dealt the biggest blow which forced the town executive to shift political alliances.

There were charges hurled last week that somebody received a huge amount of payoff money from the STL operation, an allegation which was vehemently denied by the town mayor.

Jimenez explained that her transfer to the camp of LRay Villafuerte would be formalized during the ceremony scheduled this week at the covered court of this town.

Political detractors of Jimenez say that their town’s chief executive succumbed to extreme political pressures that could affect her bid to run for re-election in 2016.

Political shift

As a result of the political shift of Jimenez, only four municipal officials remain with the group of Congressman Dato Arroyo: Vice Mayor Rommel Bulaong, Councilors Bernard Brioso, Rodel Rasonable, and Luis Cañete, and the Liga ng mga Barangay President.

Meanwhile, this shift is expected to trigger more political realignments in the next few months.

Unconfirmed reports say that Congressman Dato Arroyo is considering throwing his hat into the mayoralty race in this premier town.

His wife, Kakai Arroyo will reportedly run against LRay Villafuerte in the next congressional derby in the 2nd district of Camarines Sur.

Asked by Dollano for her comments regarding the possibility of facing Arroyo in the mayoralty race, the mayor said she is not inclined to fight Dato.

Jimenez repeatedly pleaded for understanding from her former boss, Arroyo.

Arroyo could not be reached for his comments following these brewing political developments here.

Last weekend, Arroyo said he sent a text message saying that apart from Jimenez, all his political leaders in Libmanan remain intact.

Jimenez also confirmed during the interview that in the next election, her running mate would be incumbent Councilor Jerry Tendero. Tendero was originally aligned with Jimenez, but bolted out to join Villafuerte’s camp earlier this year.

Vice Mayor Bulaong could not be reached for his comment as of press time. – BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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