ILIGAN CITY – A 53-year-old Roman Catholic priest is seeking the vice mayor’s seat in this city.
Fr. Jeemar Lucero Vera Cruz, a priest at the Diocese of Iligan for the last 29 years, on Thursday, October 15, filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) as vice mayor under the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC).
Vera Cruz is the running mate of suspended Iligan City Mayor Celso G. Regencia who has been committed to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) after he surrendered to Judge Arthur L. Abundiente on October 12.
"I'll be leaving temporarily my role as a priest to respond to God's calling to help the constituents of Iligan City," Vera Cruz said.
Vera Cruz has been accused by critics of using the pulpit to further his political ambitions but the priest said he decided to seek political office to transform Iligan City.
Vera Cruz celebrated his last mass before an estimated 5,000 supporters wearing red shirts.
After the mass, Vera Cruz took out his cassock, put on a striped red and white shirt, and walked out of the Saint Michael's Cathedral to the Comelec office to submit his CoC.
Together with his supporters, Vera Cruz joined Marissa Regencia who earlier filed the CoC of the suspended mayor.
Regencia’s suspension period will end on October 19.
Acting Iligan City Mayor Roderick Marzo said Monday he is willing to go back as Vice Mayor if the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will issue an official directive.