DETAINED Magdalo leader former Navy Lieutenant Senior Grade James Layug formally launched his campaign to represents residents of Taguig City’s second district despite being unable to leave his detention cell at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Custodial Center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Some 500 supporters of Layug belonging to the Magdalo Para Pagbabago Movement and the Kabisig ni Layug kicked off his campaign with a Palm Sunday Mass at the Ina ng Dukha Parish Church at the Tenement area in Western Bicutan.

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The mass was immediately followed by a motorcade and a door-to-door campaign with his supporters distributing posters and pamphlet regarding the platforms of the detained rebel officer.

The 39-year-old Layug is one of the detained Magdalo officers allowed by Makati regional trial court (RTC) Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda temporary liberty when he granted their petition for bail but the military authorities refused to release him as he had the coup d’etat case pending before another Makati court for his involvement in the short-lived 2003 Oakwood mutiny.

In a statement read to his supporters, Layug, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1995, said his priorities if he is elected in the May 10 elections is improved healthcare, access to education and a drug-free community to his constituents.

Layug said he has six advocacies that will be the foundation for his programs and policies. These are good governance, people empowerment, peace and order, social equity, justice and environmental protection and management.

He said he would also push for legislation for the establishment of a satellite branch of the Veterans Memorial Hospital to care for military retirees and their dependents in Taguig.

About 50 percent of the population of the city’s second district is made up of military retirees and their dependents.

At the same time, he acknowledged the difficulties of mounting a campaign in detention but added that his relatives, friends and supporters have promised to campaign for him.

He said the Samahang Magdalo alone has about 4,000 members in the city.

He said they would also make use of the Internet and mass media just like the candidacy of his “mistah”, former Navy Lieutenant Senior Grade Antonio Trillanes IV in the 2007 mid-term election.

Despite being in detention and with meager resources, Trilllanes, one of the leaders of the Magdalo group which staged the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula Hotel siege, won a seat in the Senate.

Layug is up against current Mayor Freddie Tinga and Angelito “Jett” Reyes, son for former Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes.

Taguig’s second district has 13 barangays including Fort Bonifacio where military personnel and retirees reside.

Aside from Layug, other Magdalo officers are also running for various elective posts in the upcoming election.

Former Marine Captain Gary Alejano is running for mayor of Sipalay City in Negros Occidental, former Air Force 1st Lieutenant Francisco Ashley Acedillo for representative of Cebu’s 1st District, Army Captain Dante Langkit for the lone Congressional District of Kalinga, former Army Scout Ranger regiment commander, Brigadier General Danilo Lim and former Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin both for Senator. (AH/Sunnex)