Local opposition closes ranks

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

LESS than two weeks before the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) on October 1 to 5, opposition leaders are now forming local alliances to topple the local administration ticket in 2013.

“We admit the team to beat right now is Timpuyog ti Baguio. But the administration should not be complacent as they may be in for the surprise,” former councilor Leandro Yangot of the Liberal Party said.

Yangot was referring to the tandem of incumbent officials Representative Bernardo Vergara and Mayor Mauricio Domogan.


“These are allies of former President Gloria Arroyo, sila sa Timpuyog, but it’s a different thing right now because the Aquino administration, particularly the Liberal Party is very strong,” he said.

He said they are now having talks with those interested to run for different local positions come May 2013 but they are making sure these are not identified with Timpuyog and are in for the fight to win next year.

He said it is to their advantage that the ruling Partido Liberal, with President Benigno Aquino III and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas as leaders, is ready to support them but stressed local candidates should also have the capital to finance their campaigns.

“We are looking into a scenario similar in 2004 where the top Timpuyog positions from mayor and vice mayor to several other council slots have been occupied by the opposition. Hopefully, history will repeat itself,” he said.

Another Liberal Party stalwart former councilor Jose Molintas said they are now in the process of talks not only with their fellow Liberals but also with other possible candidates from other parties.

Molintas said the local Liberal Party under Councilor Isabelo Cosalan is already meeting with other party members, as well as with other prospect candidates from other parties.

He said they are conducting an Orientation of Liberal Democracy with more than a hundred members from Baguio and La Union who will later on take oath as members.

“We have been inviting not just Liberals to form a solid opposition in Baguio, form a local coalition ; a line-up that will be fronting against the tandem of Vergara and Domogan,” he said.

Molintas said Councilor Cosalan is already in talks with Councilor Richard Cariño, a Nacionalista Party member, while Yangot and Councilor Edison Bilog are also forming another group.

But both Molintas and Yangot said anything can happen in the next few days leading to the deadline of filing of COCs.

Liberal Party incumbent councilors include Cosalan, Bilog and Fred Bagbagen.

But he said they are not discounting the possibility of a coalition with Nacionalista Party members Councilors Cariño, Phillian Weygan-Allan and Peter Fianza, an independent candidate in the previous elections.

He said these alliances are already happening in the national level with Nacionalista party members partnering with the Liberal Party which he said they will also follow in the local level.

In the City Council, only around three positions will be left vacant with Councilor Nicasio Aliping announcing his bid for the congress under PDP-Laban, while three-term Councilors Erdolfo Balajadia and Perlita Chan-Rondez are reportedly not running for other higher positions.

This places Councilors Fianza, Weygan-Allan, Cariño, Cosalan, Bagbagen, Cariño, Bilog, Elmer Datuin, Betty Lourdes Tabanda, Nicasio Palaganas all aiming for re-election by May 2013.

Vice Mayor Daniel Fariñas will still be with Timpuyog.

Businessman Mark Go and former mayor Ramon Labo are also reportedly planning to seek the mayoralty posts in the 2013 elections.

Other prominent names reportedly aiming for the council seat are former Councilors Elaine Sembrano, Faustino Olowan and Federico Mandapat.

Lawyer Edgar Avila, who ran for the congressional seat in 2013, is also reportedly aiming for a seat in the council.

Aliping, in an earlier interview, said they are also open to local alliances with candidates from other parties.

Aliping also recently floated the names of Engr. Rizalino Banta, transport leaders Emmanuel Carantes and Jonie Itliong, former Abra mayor Antonio Domes-ag, former village head Fred Fangonon and lawyers Ronald Perez and Frisco Domalsin. He also offered a slot to a family member of former mayor Braulio Yaranon.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 22, 2012.

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