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Vol. VII, No. 9      April 1- 7, 2007      Quezon City, Philippines











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In Baguio, David vs. Goliath Showdown
8 contenders challenge Yaranon for mayoralty

The coming elections can be considered a David vs. Goliath story in this city as Councilor Jose Mencio Molintas of the United Opposition (UNO) battles for the top position against incumbent Rep. Mauricio Domogan, a very vocal ally of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Northern Dispatch

Posted by Bulatlat

BAGUIO CITY – The coming elections can be considered a David vs. Goliath story in this city as Councilor Jose Mencio Molintas of the United Opposition (UNO) battles for the top position against incumbent Rep. Mauricio Domogan, a very vocal ally of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In this city’s election history, it was in the 2004 mayoralty contest that the daring crusader Councilor Braulio Yaranon defeated then incumbent mayor Bernardo Vergara, who was the administration candidate with exceedingly generous resources for the campaign. Yaranon made history when he with his simple conviction and limited resources defeated the incumbent by thousands of votes, a never-before-seen event in Baguio's election history. 

The basic issue being raised for the congressional representation is the institutionalization of a consultation mechanism for the city constituents on issues of public interest.

Urban poor leader Geraldine Cacho points out that the basic right of Baguio residents to be consulted on various issues before deciding in their behalf in congress has been greatly neglected.

Congress records show that Representative Domogan voted in favor of the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) Law, and opposed the two impeachment cases against Arroyo as well as the P125 across-the-board salary increase for private employees.

He voted according to what was dictated by his party - the LAKAS-CMD – rather than listening to the needs and views of his constituents,” said Cacho. “In fact, he has failed to adopt legislations that would address the land and housing problem in the city.”

Mayoral free-for-all

Yaranon rests his confidence of victory on his clean records and honest credentials in his bid for reelection, though he was twice suspended by Malacañang for six months each for allegedly abusing his power in moving for the closure of Jadewell.

The other candidates challenging Yaranon for the mayoralty include two officials in acting capacity: acting mayor Reinaldo Bautista (KAMPI) and acting vicemayor Leandro Yangot (Liberal Party). Other contenders are: Virgilio Baustista (Independent), Ramon Labo (KBL), Elmo Nevada (PRP), and Felipe Ramos (Independent).

With the nine candidates vying for mayor, votes from votes who can command their membership can serve as a swing vote, an observer claims. The votes include those from the party lists who can deliver votes based on candidate/s position on issues.


The vice-mayoralty is being contested by newcomers. Four lawyers and councilors are contesting the position, namely, Faustino Olowan (UNO/PDSP), Edilberto Tenefrancia (LAKAS-CMD), Elmer Datuin (Liberal Party), and Daniel Farinas (KAMPI/NP). The only “oldtimer” is Datuin, who has already ended his third term as councilor.

The other vice-mayoralty candidates are Antolin Mascarenas (KBL) and former City Police Chief Roberto “Bungo” Ortega.

If the Baguio voters would vote based on their tribal affiliation, Olowan has an advantage as all the other challengers are considered lowlanders.

Olowan belongs to the Kankanaey tribe of Mountain Province, who are noted for voting solidly for their kailyans(tribe mates). In the 2004 election, three councilors whose ancestors originate from Mountain Province's Kankanaey tribe topped the Sangguniang Panglungsod (City Council) race: they are Yangot (1st), Rocky Balisong (3rd and running for reelection), and Olowan (5th) from the 12 member SP. Other Kankanaey trying their luck for the SP are Patrick Dangatan Sr. (LP), Nicasio Aliping (LAKAS-CMD), Fred Bagbagen (UNO), Jeannette Cawiding (LP), and Joseph Marero (UNO).

Their kailyans say that this election is a test of whether they can elect such a big number of their own.  

Sangguniang Panglungsod

The 12 slots for the SP are being contested by 50 candidates, Commission on Elections (Comelec) lists in the city show.

Only four SP members are vying for reelection: Balisong, Pinky Rondez, Galo Weygan and Antonio Tabora. Balisong, Rondez, and Weygan are running under the Independent Baguio Coalition with other three neophytes. Tabora is running under the Nationalista Party.

Media practitioners throw their hats into the ring bout for SP membership, namely, Edison Ang (TV, LAKAS-CMD), Joaquin Carino (freelance print, UNO), and Jogin Tamayo (Print, KAMPI-NP). The mother of ABS-CBN personality Elaine Sembrano is also joining the contest under UNO. (Please see election corner for the complete lists.) 

Lawyers too have thrown their hats, namely Balisong, human rights lawyer Richard Cariño, Bagbagen, former city prosecutor Erdolfo Balajadia, Nic Palaganas, Ronaldo Perez, Rondez, Betty Tabanda, Richard Zarate, and Reynaldo Cortes. Observers Cortes about his having accepted as his partymate Ortega, allegedly involved in extra-judicial killings of suspected criminals in the city during his time as chief of police in Baguio.

The sole movie personality running for SP is Vinzons.

Baguio residents however say they are politically conscious at present and they are to vote based on issues and not personalities. “We can vote for personalities who can fight for our issues, like what we did in 2004 catapulting Yaranon and defeating a rich politician, says Ignacio Pangket, an transport-sector and urban poor organizer. “ I think we can do it now.” Northern Dispatch / Posted by Bulatlat




© 2007 Bulatlat  Alipato Publications

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