Outgoing Vice Governor Rene Relampagos, in an apparent final swipe at his critics before stepping down from office, said the provincial government has been tarnished by “disinformation” and “deceit.”
After 12 straight years in public office, Relampagos will become a private citizen on June 30 after losing in his reelection bid against Provincial Board Member Victor Balite.
Relampagos who is on his first term as vice governor lamented that false information undermined the provincial government’s achievements in the past three years.
“Despite all the things we have done for Bohol, a lot was said within the past three years. The provincial government was marred by disinformation and blatant deceit,” Relampagos said in his farewell speech during the 28th Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s penultimate regular session on Tuesday.
Relampagos did not elaborate on details regarding the alleged misinformation but both he and outgoing Governor Art Yap have openly accused the Chronicle and their critics of spreading “fake news” against them.
In 2021, Yap filed an inciting to sedition complaint against Chronicle associate editor Peter Dejaresco, Makati-based businessman Willy Ramasola and former Tagbilaran City Mayor Dan Lim for peddling “lies” against officials of the provincial government.
The Makati City Prosecutor’s Office, in a strongly worded resolution highlighting the importance of a free press, dismissed the case for lack of probable cause.
The prosecutor cited six elements of inciting to sedition and all of which were absent in Yap’s over 150-page complaint.
Planning a comeback?
According to Relampagos, he looks forward to spending time with his family when he steps down from office.
“People have told me that I exude a lighter disposition now despite having to leave office,” he said.
However, Relampagos, a career politician who first held an elective post in 1989, appeared open to running again for a seat in government.
He noted that he still has plans for Bohol which he would have to put aside “for now” after his loss to Balite, hinting at a possible comeback.
The veteran politician is no stranger to losing in the elections.
After being governor for two terms from 1995 to 2001, he lost in his second reelection bid to Erico Aumentado.
Relampagos, then aged 37, took an almost decade-long hiatus from politics before running again for congressman of the first district in 2010.
Following his recent loss, however, Relampagos has not revealed his plans for his political future.
This is in contrast to Yap who immediately issued a statement announcing his retirement from local politics after it became apparent that he had lost to Aris Aumentado on Election Day.
Prior to the May polls, there were speculations that Relampagos would no longer seek reelection due to health concerns but these were quickly doused by his political coalition which assured that he will be Yap’s running mate.
In 2020, Relampagos who is now 58 years old was noted to have undergone surgery for an undisclosed condition.
While serving as vice governor, he was not seen in public for over three months in the first quarter of 2020 before he issued a statement revealing that he had undergone surgery in the US. (A. Doydora)