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3 mayoralty aspirants all BBMs

BBM. The official candidate of the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. or BBM former vice mayor Edison Bilog, seated, center, with his six councilor-candidates when they filed their candidacy last October 8 at the Baguio Convention Center. The pro-BBM will be fighting out with two equally strong contenders for the top city post on the May 2022 elections – incumbent Benjamin B. Magalong and former mayor and Rep. Mauricio Domogan, whose supporters want are crying to “bring back Maurice”. Pigeon Lobien Photo

Is BBM now the most popular initial.

In Baguio, it seems, that all those seeking the highest post at City Hall have those initial.

Linked or not to the presidential aspirant seen as the favorite to win the May 2022 elections, they all sport the same letters.

The incumbent is of course Benjamin Magalong, whose middle name is Banez, thus rightfully the BBM.

But then there is former two time three termer mayor and three term congressman Mauricio G. Domogan, who now fits the bill as many, his supporters, wants to bring back Maurice or BBM also.

Then there is of course former vice mayor Edison Bilog who is running under the party of the former member of the presidential family, the Partido Reforma ng Pilipinas, whose endorsement to run for mayor he got before the last day of filing of candidacy last October 8.

“I am going down today to get the endorsement and nomination of the PRP,” said Bilog after seeing Rep. Mark Go file his candidacy on October 7. He returned the following day with his six councilor aspirants after a sleepless night spent on the road showing his confirmation as a member of Marcos’s party and nomination.

Bilog’s battlecries could be BBM also – Bilog Beat Magalong and Bilog Beat Maurice.

But Domogan also has a PRP member within his rank of councilor candidates who actually works as a consultant for Cordillera affairs for the eldest Marcos children, Imee, a senator – former councilor and a staunch Domogan supporter – Elmer Datuin.

The three are the frontrunners for the top City Hall post with Domogan clearly trying to make a comeback after three terms at the post from 1992 to 2001 and from 2010 to 2019. The nine years in between were spent in Congress.

But in the last election, Domogan lost for the first time, his first defeat, when he was beaten by re-electionist Go in a landslide.

Magalong won the 2019 elections vie a wide margin that was a portent for a possible easy return on his second term. But then many who supported him in the last election are apparently disgruntled with the heavy hand he applies, including the demolitions along the city’s main roads for the widening effort.

“I am just implementing national laws,” said the former police general, who led the Baguio City Police Office – under Domogan and the Police Regional Office – Cordillera, with Domogan as the chair of the Regional Development Council.

But Magalong is praised for his handling of the Covid-19 crisis that has even impressed the president who named him the country’s tracing czar. And he is the best performing local government unit head for his roll out of vaccines as the city has almost reached the herd immunity requirement.

With Magalong and Domogan running, their staunchest ally is on a quandary who to support. Former congressman and mayor Bernardo Vergara would now choose between his 2019 bet for mayor and his longest ally who with him formed the formidable “Dynamic Duo” of the post-90 earthquake Baguio and who shaped the future of the city.

Vergara’s daughter Gladys Vergara-de Vera is yet one of the staunchest supporters of Magalong, who may stay with the former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief leading to the May 2022 pools.

Vergara’s youngest son and two-time city council aspirant Jonathan will also throw his hat in favor of the former police general, his senior at the then all-boys Saint Louis Laboratory High School.

“He (Magalong) endorsed me to the Baguio Water District board,” said the young Vergara, who was named to the five member BWD board early last year.

Vergara had been behind Domogan especially at the start of the last decade where rumors of the (Nicasio) Aliping, (Jr.) – Domogan (AliDom) started.

“We have always been allies even then, but then it was out of respect to Cong. Vergara,” said Aliping in an earlier interview as he said that he and Domogan agreed this time to “consummate” the alliance as he moved to battle Go instead of seeking the mayoralty position.

“If we run both against Magalong, then both of us will lose. So I will instead run for congressman,” said Aliping before filing his candidacy last October 8.

Congress One on One

Another showdown looms for the fight for the lone congressional seat with former congressman Aliping giving his “all” to unseat a three term seeking Go.

“I will give a good fight,” vowed the one term congressman, who beat then incumbent Rep. Bernardo Vergara.

Aliping said that he wants somebody that is pro-people, pro-poor crafting laws in Congress “one that is approachable and a genuine pro-people.”

Aliping said that he will bring back a genuine service to the people especially the poor, including support for hospitalization, education for the poor, among others.

“Can people directly talk to the congressman now? No, it is his wife (Soledad), who does it. The position he won is his, it is not his wife or any of his children,” said the former city councilor and former elections official.

Cosalan, Tabanda lead early poll

A poll by the Baguio Heritage Facebook group of 227 people had councilors Isabelo Cosalan, Jr. and Betty Lourdes Tabanda topping the survey.

Councilor Mylen Yaranon comes in a close third with returning and former city administrator Peter Fianza at fourth.

The survey also shows incumbents Leah Farinas, Fred Bagbagen and Vladimir Cayabas occupying the 5th to 7th sports, while the returning Jose Molintas, who ran for mayor and congressman for several elections, coming in at 8th followed by incumbents Arthur Allad-iw and Benny Bomogao.

Pamela Carino – Bomogao is at 11th spot, followed by Datuin, ahead of Leandro Yangot, Jr., both former councilors and even top notchers in the past.

Former Baguio Center Young Adults head Marilyn de Castro is at 14th, with Domogan aid Ryan Mangusan at 15th.

Bilog downplayed the survey saying that it is too few. None of his councilor-candidates made it to the top 15.

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