THERE is much ado about who should take the Baguio City Council seat vacated by former Councilor and now Vice Mayor Edison Bilog. From a report by JM Agreda, it seems that some local city officials and some members of the Liberal Party have negative reactions to the nomination of Marquez Go to said seat.

Still according to Agreda, (Mayor Mauricio) “Domogan together with Representative Nicasio Aliping and nine other Sangguniang Panlungsod members signed a resolution recommending Upper Quezon Hill punong barangay Lilia Fariñas, the wife of the late vice mayor Daniel Fariñas, to take over the twelfth seat left vacant with the assumption of top Councilor Edison Bilog into the vice mayoralty post.”

Agreda further has (Councilor Leandro) “Yangot, a Liberal Party member, together with lone district Rep. Aliping… also surprised at the recent move of their LP party mates in nominating Go to fill in the position of Councilor, adding they were not consulted in the process… only Bilog and Councilors Faustino Olowan and Isabelo Cosalan… were amenable to the endorsement of Go as both he and Rep. Aliping are in favor of endorsing the wife of the late vice mayor… Yangot said it should have been Rep. Nicasio Aliping who should have convened the Liberal Party meeting and endorsement as he is now the highest ranking member of the Liberal Party in the city.”

Ah, these maneuverings.

Firstly, has a listing of candidates who ran in the last Baguio elections. Aliping’s affiliation/party is listed as “INDEPENDENT,” NOT Liberal Party. Methinks, so independent that he thinks he can build a road over an already endangered FOREST RESERVE and water basin and cut tens of trees in the process, causing an entire water source dam to pollute and put at risk the lives of Baguio citizens. Not to mention causing erosion in a terrain already susceptible to landslides. Not good, his independence.

Secondly, our Local Government Code states explicitly that “… only the nominee of the political party under which the Sanggunian member concerned had been elected and whose elevation to the position next higher in rank created the last vacancy in the Sanggunian shall be appointed in the manner hereinabove provided.” The point here is did Bilog cause the vacancy or did Bagbagen, who placed 12th in the city council race, by “moving up” to 11th? Our Supreme Court has ruled in a similar case (G.R. No. 141307 March 28, 2001) that it is the Bilog counterpart who caused the vacancy, not the Bagbagen counterpart. It is thus Bilog’s party, the Liberal Party, that decides who to nominate.

Nominate Marquez Go they did. Thing is, it seems hardly any Liberal party members, except VM Bilog and Councilors Cosalan and Oloan, were invited to a caucus, much less a meeting, about that nomination. I know Liberal Party members who are vocally as shocked as Councilor Yangot over the nomination of Go, lending instant incredibility (the uh, opposite of credibility) to said nomination. My take is that it was a fastbreak play – with the ball now suspended in midair. You might look at the NP nomination of Mrs. Lilia Fariñas as a blocking move to that fastbreak ploy.

But lest we forget, there is in truth another Lilia in this picture. Former Councilor Lilia Yaranon is actually the Liberal Party candidate who, if we are to talk of “seat numbers,” should “move up.” “Mother Lily” placed 14th in the last elections; Federico Mandapat placed 13th.

Mandapat ran under the UNA. Ergo, the LP candidate who so obviously should get nominated to the seat vacated by Bilog is this Lilia.

For those who argue that Go is the LP candidate who garnered the most number of votes, take a look at the ratios. Go was one of six candidates for Congress, and of those six, only three had numbers that mattered.

Yaranon was one of 50 candidates for councilor, making it harder for any of them to get through to the magic 12. For those who are sneering “bakeeeteeen,” let me tell you that age is good, wisdom is priceless, and a mother’s touch in that council of ours is to be desired, not shunned.

Mother Lily was NOT invited to any caucus, meeting, or gathering convened to nominate a replacement to assume the seat vacated by Bilog.

And yet so many of us are even now thinking, me aloud, that she should be the LP candidate to take the vacated council seat. She would also strengthen two underrepresented voices in the council: the female voice, making three out of two, and the voice for the elderly, making again three from two.

Nominate Lilia Yaranon to the vacated LP seat, and let PNoy decide. It’s his call, as, again, our Local Government Code clearly states that in such cases, “Permanent vacancies in the Sanggunian where automatic successions provided above do not apply shall be filled by appointment in the following manner: 1) The President, through the Executive Secretary, in the case of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and the Sangguniang Panlungsod of highly urbanized cities and independent component cities...” i.e., Baguio.

This is actually about the other Lilia.