Marcos grandson now unopposed in Ilocos Norte gubernatorial race as Fariñas backs out

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 5) — Matthew Marcos, the grandson of graft convict Ilocos Norte 2nd District representative and former First Lady Imelda Marcos is now running unopposed in the gubernatorial race in Ilocos Norte after his opponent, Rodolfo Fariñas, withdrew Thursday his candidacy.

Fariñas, who is currently Ilocos Norte 1st District representative, said he did not want to run for office and would want to retire once the 17th Congress adjourns.

"From Day 1 of the campaign until today, having covered 272 of my district’s 285 barangays, I’ve been announcing in my speeches that I was not running for Governor. In fact, I do not have a single campaign poster, nor my name is in our sample ballot. I’ve never even gone to the other district of our province," he said in a text message to reporters.

Fariñas had planned to retire from politics after 39 years of being in the public eye but this was shelved after the younger Marcos substituted for his grandmother for the gubernatorial race following her conviction for seven counts of graft in November. A graft conviction disqualifies a person from running for public office.

The congressman, who also served as House Majority Leader before being kicked out during the leadership shakeup in the lower hourse, claimed this was a violation of the peace pact agreed upon by the Fariñas and Marcos clans — two powerful political families in the northern Philippines.

'Matthew is being crowned'

In an interview with local reporters in Ilocos Norte, Fariñas said he no longer wants the "24/7" duty of being a governor.

“I may not be able to give hundred percent of my time dahil [because] at my age gusto ko naman parelax-relax na [I want to relax,]” said Fariñas.

He also gave his best wishes to his erstwhile opponent Matthew, son of senatorial candidate and incumbent Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.

“He is now being crowned. The seat of the governorship is being given to him unopposed,” Fariñas said.

Matthew is currently sitting as a senior Provincial Board member in Ilocos Norte. He was running as vice governor before substituting for Imelda.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.