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Baguio-Benguet politicos formalize bids for May 2022 elections

THREE FOR THREE. Congressman Mark Go, 2nd left, filed his certificate of candidacy Thursday in attempt to win his third term in Congress with three city council aspirants – councilors Philian Weygan-Allan, left, and Betty Lourdes Tabanda and Glenn Gaerlan Thursday at the Baguio Convention Center. Pigeon Lobien / RNG Luzon

Two rivals for the city’s lone congressional district in the 2019 elections and two of the biggest names in local politics have filed their respective certificate of candidacies Thursday with the Commission on Elections at the Baguio Convention Center.

One is the winner who is seeking a third and final term at the Batasang Pambansa, and the other who lost badly to the same guy but is now seeking a return to Baguio City Hall where he spent 18 fruitful years there which is the longest year of service since same position was made elective in 1960.

Rep. Marques Go formalized his bid for a third term when he cast his CoC together with wife Soledad and their big happy brood of eight children and three city council aspirants before noon.

He followed lawyer Mauricio Domogan, who filed his candidacy with five of his city council bets including two incumbents. Domogan tries to make a return to the post he held for two three full terms as well as a return to his winning form after getting soundly beaten in his 2019 attempt for a second run at Congress.

Domogan has lorded over local politics not just in Baguio but in the region since his elevation to mayor in 1992. But in 2019, he suffered his only setback apparently ending a 31 year political career against Go. But Thursday saw Domogan make a go for one more ride and three days before his 75th birthday.

He arrived with his councilors bet – incumbents Benny Bomogan and Vladimir Cayabas, his former assistant Ryan Mangusan and first timer Len Ortega.

Mangusan placed a respectable 15th in the last election which could mean a victory this time around. Ortega, on the other hand, is the mother of councilor Roberto Ortega, who reportedly decided to stay out of politics this time to concentrate on raising his children after a bout with Covid-19. The young Ortega replaced his father and namesake, who died in 2019, and won in the 2019 polls.

Domogan is the first serious contender of incumbent mayor Benjamin Magalong, who last Monday filed his CoC for his re-election and ending speculation that he will seek a seat in the Senate under his former boss in the Philippine National Police, Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Domogan filed under the Lakas – CMD party, the once formidable political party in the late 90s under then president Fidel Ramos, and under his administration the city thrived once anew after the devastations of the 1990 killer earthquake.

He is going up against Magalong, who dons the National People’s Coalition jersey, once proudly worn by Domogan’s long-time ally and friend Bernardo Vergara, a former four term congressman and one time city mayor.

Domogan came with his council bets dressed in white shedding off the traditional green his once formidable Timpuyog ti Baguio used to wear. His line-up is but a shadow of what he sued to have – complete with congressman, vice mayor and the full 12 for city council.

Go hopes to make it in the May 9, 2022 election in the hope to finish what he vowed to accomplish in Congress among which is the expansion of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center from 800 bed capacity to 1,500; establish a school for higher learning for those who cannot afford to go to private colleges and the establishment of the Baguio National Schools for Arts and Sports.

Go said that while the bills for such were passed in the Senate, there is not enough time in this Congress that it will get the funding needed for the establishment of said programs

“I do hope that I be lucky enough to get elected anew to complete said programs I envisioned,” Go said in Filipino after swearing the oath of fair campaigning each candidate take.

Go was also in white along with former Timpuyog stalwart Betty Lourdes Tabanda and Philian Weygan-Alan both seeking a third and final term at the City Council.

Tabanda is the most senior member of the city council and celebrates 30 years of running since casting her CoC in 1991. She lost only once, in 2004, in her re-election bid for vice mayor against Reinaldo Bautista, Jr., who was later elevated as mayor when then elected chief executive Braulio Yaranon was suspended due to the Jadewell issue.

Tabanda’s political career had its high when she was elected vice mayor in 2001, the highest ever won by a female since the position was made elective in 1960.

She returned to the city council in 2007 and served until 2016, took a three year absence, ran and won in the 2019 polls as she hoped to give more service to her fellow senior citizens.

Music professor and tenor Glenn Gaerlan completes the troika with Go and under the Nationalista Party.

Also dressed in white but did not file his CoC Thursday was former vice mayor Edison Bilog, who was with his council aspirants including radio personality Ericson Ferrer.

Bilog, who will run for mayor and complete his failed 2019 bid, literally ran to Manila after Go’s filing where he said he will get the endorsement of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas which is bannered by former Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

“I will be filing tomorrow my candidacy (Friday),” vowed the former Comelec official and one of Magalong’s possible top opponents. Bilong was the distant second in the mayoralty race in the last elections.

He will file his candidacy on the same day, the last day of filing, that former congressman Nicasio Aliping, Jr., who last Saturday said that he will run for Congress instead for mayor and challenge Go for the fourth time.

Aliping lost his bid for second term to Go after a group led by the late bishop Carlito Cenzon filed a writ of kalikasan with a local court, and was granted, for the then congressman’s construction of a private property at Mount Santo Tomas.

Aliping, also a former Comelec official, said that he was supposed to run for mayor but acceded to Domogan’s call that he instead seek the congressional seat formalizing their supposed AliDom (Aliping-Domogan) alliance that has been rumored extant since 2010.

Seeking re-election and who have filed their CoCs are Isabelo Cosalan, Arthir Alad-iw and Mylen Yaranon of the Liberal Party and will run with their former colleague lawyer Jose Molintas and former secretary to the mayor Rudolfo Paraan.

Nine other aspirants have already filed their candidacy including Pamela Carino, sports coach Christian Villareal and Marlene de Castro, founder of the youth oriented organization Baguio Center for Young Adults.

In Tuba, mayor Clarita Sal-ongan seeks re-election along with vice mayor Maria Carantes after filing their CoCs with eight of their allies under the United Benguet Party also Thursday in Comelec – Tuba.

The former vice mayor seeks re-election with seven of the town’s seven incumbent councilors – Rebecca Apil, Garey Behis, Eugene Gabino, Roger Kitma, Nestor Baban, Gloria Paus and Reachel Takinan. William Abance completes the Sal-ongan line-up.

Also today, former Benguet Gov. Cresencio Pacalso will file his CoC in either of the top two positions with former vice governor Nelson Dangwa.

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