>> Tuesday, May 29, 2007

All over but the sourgraping

As the Commission on Elections is proclaiming left and right winning candidates, some if not most of the losers are whining. They are complaining if being cheated. It’s nearly two weeks after the elections but in many places, the electoral body has yet to proclaim the winners. But this is not confined only to rural areas. Even in Muntinlupa, the Comelec hasn’t yet proclaimed the winners in the mayoral race as of presstime. And to think the area is within the coujntry’s capital.

But then, in many parts of the country, local elections are finally drawing to a close. Proclamations are delayed for three reasons: violence, poll frauds, and the refusal of certain candidates to accept defeat. In some cases, there are valid reasons for the protesting candidates to cry fraud and refuse to concede. But other losers simply want to make life miserable for their political rivals.

This refusal to accept defeat, often lasting long after the election season is over and the winner has assumed office, has been a major hindrance to effective governance. The delivery of basic services suffers when local executives are distracted by the extension of election battles.

By this time there are enough indications of where the vote has been rigged and the real winners have been robbed of their mandate, and which candidates simply can’t take defeat. The country has enough problems without sore losers derailing the proclamations of their rivals. Local officials have a term of only three years, and those whose victories are not tainted by cheating should be allowed to serve their constituents in peace.

If these losers do not have the grace to accept defeat, the Comelec and the courts can prevent them from creating trouble for the winners. This can be done by resolving pre-proclamation protests quickly and throwing out frivolous requests for temporary retraining orders. In every race, there is a winner and a loser. All candidates should accept this fact before entering an electoral contest.

The losers should take the example set by two candidates for the town council in Bontoc, Mountain Province who tossed a coin to determine the winner since they had a tie. This is legal under Comelec rules and the sore losers should be more sportsmanlike and accept defeat graciously unless they were indeed cheated.


Name of losing Ilocos bet found in assassin’s phone

Mayor’s killer a hired gun; cops cornering mastermind

BACARRA, Ilocos Norte -- Investigators are looking into the possible involvement of a losing congressional candidate in the gunslaying of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte Mayor Philip Velasco and councilor Marcelo Andaya after his name and phone number appeared in the cellular phone seized from the slain gunman.

Initial reports said the name and phone number of Engineer Rey Nolan Sales was found among the entries in the cell phone of slain assassin Marlo Kabasag.

Sales lost to incumbent Rep. Roque Ablan who was reportedly being supported by Velasco.

Senior Supt. Marvin Bolabola, Ilocos regional chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group said it would be premature to link Sales to the murder but confirmed Kabasag was a hired killer.

Kabasag, who stood at about five feet, four inches, had tattoos of the head of an eagle and face of Jesus Christ on both arms.

Kabasag yielded a Cal. 45 pistol and a cellular phone which authorities believe may hold the clues as to who masterminded the mayor’s killing.

Investigators were looking into three possible motives – personal, political or business-related.

Bolabola said they submitted the cellular phone to the CIDG’s Cyber Crime Division in Camp Crame to check and review all its entries.

He said there were other names found in the cellular phone who may be involved in the crime.

Bolabola added they have identified the owner of the Cal. 45 automatic pistol and the motorcycle used by Kabasag.

They were also checking calls Kabasag made on the mobile phone.

Kabasag was allegedly seen in the company of a political figure in Ilocos Norte before the assassination.

Kabasag slipped in unnoticed, approached Velasco and Andaya who were both watching an intermission number during the town’s fiesta celebration last Sunday, then shot them.

Three others, including provincial board member Shirley Ong-Sin and a nine-year-old boy were wounded in the shooting before Kabasag was shot by responding lawmen.

Kabasag was later identified by some witnesses through tattoos on his body

Police said witnesses claimed Kabasag was not a native of Bacarra.

Authorities have increased the reward to P150,000 for information that could lead to the arrest of the mastermind behind the assassination.

Chief Supt. Leopoldo Bataoil, Ilocos regional police director, said P100,000 of the amount was pledged by the municipal government of Bacarra on top of the offer by the Philippine National Police of P50,000.

This, as the closest political rival of Velasco broke his silence on the killing, a report said.
Former provincial board member Pacifico “Pacing” Velasco, who lost in the mayoralty fight against Mayor Velasco, his nephew, spoke on local television and said that he would never resort to violence.

The former Sangguniang Panlalawigan member said he always used peaceful means in resolving differences with late Bacarra mayor. “I would not go to the extreme of eliminating him,” he said in a television interview.

He had earlier said he wanted to attend the wake of his slain nephew to pay his last respect but was later was hesitant to do so for safety reason.

Earlier, former SP member Velasco, also former mayor of Bacarra, had filed several charges against Mayor Velasco with the Ombudsman office in Manila .

Sales, meanwhile, assailed his detractors on the allegation that his cell phone number was listed in the mobile phone which was found in the body of the slain assassin.

“I am a businessman so anyone can have an access to my cell phone number,” Sales said
Regional police director Chief Supt. Leopoldo Bataoil, bared a task force led by Senior Superintendents Pedro Austria and Felix Roman, of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Ilocos Norte police, respectively, is digging deeper into the killing to unmask the mastermind.

Re-elected Vice Mayor Nicomendes de la Cruz, now the acting mayor, led the passage of a resolution condemning the attack.

Velasco was seated beside Andaya and other local officials in the front row when the gunman shot the mayor at close range at about 11 p.m.

Velasco was hit in the neck and below the armpit, and Andaya in the abdomen. The two died while being treated at the Ilocos Norte Provincial Hospital in Laoag City .

Three others were hit by stray bullets. They were identified as Josefina Galapon, provincial board member Shirley Ongpin, and nine-year-old Ron-Ron Laguban.

Townsfolk and officials of Bacarra mourned the death of Velasco, and Andaya. Local officials and employees led by Vice Mayor dela Cruz draped the town hall with black clothes and lowered the national flag at half mast as an act of mourning.

The mourners also offered prayers and novenas at the century-old St. Andrew church for the two victims.

As of press time, no relative of the unidentified gunman had appeared to claim the body at a funeral parlor in Bacarra.

Bataoil said an informant positively identified the assassin’s body three days after the Bacarra killing.

Bataoil did not elaborate on the assassin’s background. “It may jeopardize the probe if we give details about him,” he said.

“Our next move is to know mastermind,” Bataoil said.

Earlier, Bataoil, had raised the reward to P150,000 to anyone who can provide information on the people involved in the killing of re-elected Mayor Velasco and Councilor Andaya of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.

The cadaver of the gunman, who was shot and killed by Velasco’s security escorts while attempting to flee, was taken to a funeral parlor in the town.

Of the total amount of the reward, P100,000 came from the municipal government of Bacarra and P50,000 from the Philippine National Police.

Bataoil said the victims’ widows Ma. Conception Velasco and Eugenia Andaya have extended their gratitude to the police and President Gloria, Macapagal Arroyo for the immediate investigation of the murders.

“I personally visited the crime scene in Bacarra, the victims and the bereaved families. I relayed the condolences from the PNP chief, secretary of the DILG and President Arroyo,” he said.

Both the widows of the murdered town officials had also asked the PNP to leave “no stone unturned in their investigation and go after those who masterminded the killings.

Probers were looking into various theories in the killings.

Velasco, was about to start his third and final term as mayor when he was shot and killed together with Andaya.


Bontoc poll candidates break tie by tossing coin

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- Two candidates in this capital town broke a rare tie in last week’s elections by tossing a coin in a show of sportsmanship in a country where poll disputes are often settled with violence.

After a count of the May 14 ballots, local election officials discovered that Bryan Byrd Bellang and Benjamin Ngeteg had tied for the final of eight seats on the council in Bontoc, elections supervisor Mary Umaming told newsmen.

"I asked them if they wanted to break the tie by tossing a coin or drawing lots, somebody in the crowd wondered if I was cracking a joke,” Umaming said.

“I said those options were in the rules, and they agreed to flip a coin,” she said.

Bellang, who chose heads, won the toss, which was held on May 15 in the local town hall.

“The candidates then sealed the agreement with a handshake, and the crowd erupted with applause,” Umaming said. “Election ties in the Philippines are rare, and many are unaware of the two options for resolving them under official rules.”

Provincial election supervisor Dennis Dimalnat hailed the peaceful resolution of the tie in Bontoc as a refreshing example.

"I hope others would see the beauty of this kind of peaceful resolution,” he said.

The congressional and local elections last Monday were marred by widespread violence. Police initially reported that more than 130 people had been killed since January in election-related violence, but later lowered that toll to 41, saying they were investigating whether the other deaths were linked to the polls.

Bontoc is a resort town known for its mountainside rice terraces and the Chico River which flows alongside it.


Ret. US serviceman returns to search for girlfriend, daughter


CLARK FIELD, Pampanga – US Serviceman William Clark returned to the Philippines two years ago to search for his Filipina girlfriend and their daughter whom she left in 1965.

Now he’s back to continue the search, hoping this time, his former girlfriend Betty Rosales and their daughter Mildred, now 42 years old, would surface.

Clark, now 66 and a gymnasium owner in Fairview Pennsylvania , was stationed as a serviceman of the US Air Force at this former US Air Force Base from 1962 to 1965.

Early in 1963, he met Rosales who was then working as a cashier in a bar along the MacArthur highway in the Baligago Commercial district in Angeles City .

They fell in love, established their own bar called Coachman’s Inn, also in Baligago, and live together in a small home near the Abacan River in the same district.

In the first quarter of 1965, the US military assigned Clark to the Hollmon military base in New Mexico .

“I left Betty pregnant, but she had the bar to provide for her. Her sister and brother-in-law were with her to take care of the business,” Clark said.

It was the last time Clark saw Rosales. “A letter I got from another serviceman based at Clark informed me that she gave birth to a baby girl sometime in 1965 and that the baby was named Mildred after my mom,” he said.

Though Clark had left to Rosales his address in the US so that his communication with her would continue, he never received her letters.

“Somehow, my mother who received the letters was never able to turn over the letters to me before she died several years ago,” Clark said.

Without communication from Rosales, Clark married a Spanish-American in 1967. The couple had three children.

They were later divorced, and Clark again married a Korean national who bore him two more children. In July last year, they also divorced.

“So my eldest child is Mildred and she is my only child whom I have never seen,” Clark said.

“Now I want to make up for the time lost between me and Mildred,” he said, showing his passport which indicates that since he first came to Angeles City two years ago to look for her and her mother and he had been to the country four times.

“I have examined the birth registry in Angeles and Mabalacat town, but there is no Mildred born from May to July in 1965. I also checked baptismal records in churches in the towns but I found nothing,” he said.

Clark said he was not sure whether Rosales used his surname or hers for Mildred’s records.


Proclaim me, Padaca urges Comelec


ILAGAN, Isabela -- Re-electionist Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca urged the Commission on Elections to direct it’s officials in the province to push through with her proclamation as winner, her lawyer said Thursday.

According to lawyer Liela de Lima, her client has been leading the gubernatorial race in Isabela against rival Benjamin Dy but has not been proclaimed until now.

De Lima said they were due to file the petition on Friday so that Comelec officials in Isabela would be compelled to declare Padaca the duly elected governor. Details however were not known as of presstime.

Padaca’s proclamation was suspended after Dy petitioned the Comelec to declare failure of elections in the towns of Echague, Ilagan and Tumauini.

Dy cited supposed errors and defects like missing thumb marks and defective seals in the election returns of these towns.

The ERs were set aside by the municipal board of canvassers, causing delays in the provincial canvassing – but only for the gubernatorial race.

De Lima said Padaca is leading Dy by more than 5,000 votes and that the figure does not include the votes cast in the three towms.

Had the ERs in the three towns been included, Padaca’s lead over Dy would even widen to 15,000 to 17,000 votes, she said.

De Lima said if there were questions on the ERs’ integrity, they should have not been canvassed and used as basis for the proclamation of winning candidates in other positions.


4 soldiers freed unhurt by NPA


BOLINEY, Abra – A military officer and three other soldiers were released unhurt by New People’s Army rebels during a recent skirmish at the boundary of Manabo and Boliney, both towns in Abra.

This was confirmed by the NPA’s Agustin Begnalen command, which said the freed soldiers were treated well and accorded their full rights and privileges as prisoners of war.

Released from NPA custody were 2nd LT. Jeron Labrador Etrone, commanding officer of the Charlie company of the 41st Infantry Battalion, Sgt. Restino Agolowan Alabon, Sgt. Alexander Salvador Paulo, and Cpl. Benigno Soriano Jr.

The NPA stated it also gave back to the soldiers that seized two Cal. 45 pistols and personal belongings, including the two motorcycles they were riding when they were captured.

The released soldiers were supposed to reinforce government troops in a gun battle with the rebels in conflict-rocked Abra.

For the past several days, the NPA had launched successive offensives against the military.

In a statement, the NPA’s Agustin Begnalen command said the soldiers were released after the underground movement established they had no blood debts and records of human rights violation.

The turnover was reportedly witnessed by the barangay residents, and the soldiers signed a waiver that they were treated well and accorded the rights and privileges of prisoners of war.

The NPA said the soldiers were urged to resign from the Armed Forces of the Philippines .
If not, they were enjoined to uphold the comprehensive agreement on the respect of human rights and international humanitarian law signed by the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front in 1998.

The underground movement said the series of successful offensives, against government troops in Abra served as a continuing punitive action against the military and in response to the people’s clamor for retribution for alleged injustices inflicted by the military on them.

The 41st IB has a bloody record of torturing and killing civilians as human shields, the NPA statement said.


Arraignment for Campbell slay suspect set on May 29


LAGAWE, Ifugao – The arraignment of the confessed killer of US Peace Corps Volunteer Julia Campbell Duntugan who is at present under the custody of the provincial police at Camp Joaquin Dunuan here, the provincial police headquarters in this capital town was set on May 29.

A charge for murder was filed on May 22 by Ifugao Provincial Perosecutor Joseph Tumapang against Juan Donald B. Duntugan with the sala of Judge Esther P. Flor of the Regional Trial Court in the Justice Hall here.

Prosecutor Tumapang filed the murder charge after Duntugan failed to submit his answer or counter-affidavit against him by Ifugao Provincial Police Director Pedro Ganir.

Duntugan was given 10 days from May 2 to submit his answer to the complaint.

The failure of Duntugan to submit his answer to the complaint of the police prompted the provincial prosecutor to formally file the murder charge against him with the sala of Judge Flor who set the arraignment of Duntugan on May 29.

Prosecutor Tumapang said he will handle the prosecution of the case.

Asked why the charge against Duntugan was for murder, Prosecutor Tumapang said there were two justifying or aggravating circumstances attending the killing of Campbell .

Duntugan’s attack on Campbell was done treacherously, the persecutor said.

Also, the killing of the lady US Peace Corps volunteer was attended by viciousness and cruelty, Tumapang said.

This writer was shown at the Prosecutor’s office a video recording of the decomposing of badly battered body of Campbell sent by the PNP Crime Laboratory in Manila .

Campbell ’s jawbone was slit open, her face badly beaten and parts of her body battered.

Tumapang ruled out robbery and rape, saying that Campbell ’s personal belongings like her camera, sunglasses, and eyeglasses were found near her body.

Lawyer for Duntugan is Maribas Lubiton-Habawel of the Public Attorney’s Office.

Campbell disappeared last April 8 while hiking alone in Barangay Batad in the tourist town of Banawe .

Her body was found 10 days later in a shallow grave near a dry creek some 200 meters from Batad proper.

Duntugan went into hiding in Benguet and Baguio but he surrendered last April 27 in Camp 5, Barangay Asin in Baguio City .

He was brought to Camp Joaquin Dunuan here by his mother Jane and his uncle, PO3 Arnold Dalluyon.


Fake Red reb nabbed by police for extort


LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Police arrested Tuesday a man who claimed to be a member of the New People’s Army in an entrapment after he tried to extort money from a top government official here.

Senior Supt. Isagani Nerez, provincial police director, reported to Chief Supt. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, Region 1 police director, that Noel Santos, 39, was caught in the act of extorting money from Provincial Engineer Divina de Leon.

The arresting team was led by Supt. Rolando Magno, head of the intelligence office the provincial police office.

Nerez said Santos tried to extort R180,000 in cash from De Leon in exchange for protection.
A check made by the police showed Santos was not a member of the NPA but was using the rebel movement’s name only to extort money form businessmen and government officials.

Santos reportedly claimed to be the spokesman of the CPP-NPA in Ilocos Region composed of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan.

Nerez said the suspect was a notorious member of an extortion group operating in the Ilocos, Central Luzon and Metro Manila.

Nerez said the alleged victims of Santos included a nun in Pampanga and engineer of DPWH in Pampanga.

Meanwhile, a plan of the CPP-NPA top build a camp at Sitio Lopez, Calomboyan, Mangatarem was thwarted after alert elements of the PNP and Army overran it.


Baguio rep to conduct House investigation oncement cartel


BAGUIO CITY – Local officials in this mountain resort city, who spearheaded the expose on the cement cartel in the country, denounced the Cement Manufacturers of the Philippines (CEMAP) for “trying to misinform the Filipino people in justifying the skyrocketing prices and poor quality of cement in the country.”

Re-elected Baguio City Rep. Mauricio G. Domogan said he will pursue the House investigation on the unreasonable and unjustified prices of cement in the market especially with the varying excuses being divulged by the manufacturers to justify the “rigged” cement prices.

Last March 7, the House committee on trade and industry, which conducted an investigation on the skyrocketing cement prices, uncovered the lack of first-class or Portland cement and the cement manufacturers were required to give an explanation but the investigation was held in abeyance due to the onset of the campaign period for the May 14, 2007 elections.

Recently, the CEMAP reasoned out that the major factor causing the high prices of cement is the expensive power cost that accounts for 25 percent of its production.

But councilor Daniel T. Farinas, chairman of the city council committee on market, trade and commerce, argued that such a petty excuse is not true since power cost is already incorporated in the P73.95 production cost per 40-kilogram bag of cement.

During the initial stages of the cement cartel expose, manufacturers have claimed that the major factors affecting the price of cement were the high peso-dollar exchange rate and fuel cost, coupled with the high bank interest rates on commercial loans.

Farinas disclosed that since September last year, the peso-dollar exchange rate had improved by almost 10 percent, the fuel cost has gone down by at least 5 percent and the bank interest rates on commercial loans are now down to almost 3 percent, thus, such economic indicators should not be used to justify the high cement prices.

On the purported P9 billion losses of the manufacturers which they want to recover, both officials explained that the Filipino people should not be made to suffer with the lapses in business decision-making.

In fact, the manufacturers were able to purchase six cement plants in the country to the tune of approximately P27 billion but Domogan and Farinas added that they could not comprehend why two plants, particularly those in Batangas and Bulacan, were shut down without justifiable reasons.

They exclaimed that the cement manufacturers are just asking for an undeserved sympathy by stating their P9 billion losses from 2002 to 2003 due to the dumping of imported cement and they also claim that they have enough supply to last for the next six years as to justify the high prices of cement products.

Assuming that there is a soft demand for cement, the officials revealed that this is only because the price of cement per ton is pegged at $72, the highest in the Asian region, and the law of supply and demand would show that there will be equilibrium when both the satisfaction of demand and supply are met.

Domogan said the cement manufacturers’ capability of providing cement for the next six years shows that there is no shortage of cement and hence, there is not need for the high prices. If there is adequate supply of cement for the next six years coupled with the construction boom that the Philippine government is presently implementing, then the prices of cement should decrease so that physical infrastructure projects which are of importance be implemented.



Abra town poll officer vanished, Valera says

BANGUED, Abra – The municipal election officer of Manabo town has vanished after he was allegedly forced by four armed men to sign the certificate of votes with altered figures in favor of certain candidates.

Abra Gov. Vicente “Vicsyd” Valera, a congressional candidate in the lone district of Abra, told newsmen Henry Digit, Manabo election officer, has been in hiding since he was forced to allow the vote padding and shaving (dagdag-bawas) and to alter certificate of votes.
Senior Supt. Alex Pumecha, Abra police director, said he had no knowledge of the reported hiding of Digit.

Valera said his votes in Manabo and Bangued towns were shaved and padded with the collusion of some teachers and Comelec officers.

Valera appealed to various government agencies concerned to look into the “irregularities” in Abra polls.

In Bangued alone, Valera said he was cheated by at least 2,000 votes in what he described as an orchestrated and grand design to make him lose in this election.

He also accused a top police official of having to do with maneuvering of the counting of votes.
This, as violence continued to hound conflict-stricken Abra.

A man shot and killed his father inside their house in Bangued town at about 8: 15 p.m. on May 21.

Senior Supt. Alexander Pumecha, police director of Abra, identified the fatality as Carlito Mariano, 60, married, driver of the municipal government of Tineg.

Initial police investigation showed the elder Mariano and his son Elmer were inside their house at Zone III, Bangued, Abra, when a misunderstanding over an old family problem came about.
This reportedly prompted the younger Mariano to pull out his unlicensed Cal. 45 pistol and fired successively at his father.

Pumecha said the older Mariano suffered from multiple bullet wounds.

Physicians at the Abra Provincial Hospital declared him dead on arrival.
Elements of the scene of the crime operation team found several empty shells of Cal.45 bullets in the residence of the Mariano family. Pumecha ordered a hunt for the younger Mariano.

95 teachers needed for Mt Prov; Congress to create vital positions

BONTOC, Mountain Province – At least 95 teachers are needed in elementary and secondary schools in this 4rth class province this coming school year 2007-2008.

Superintendent Teresita Velasco of the provincial Department of Education said the need for teachers was forwarded to the central office of DepEd for action.

Based from basic education system needs in the previous school year 2006-2007 gathered from the planning unit of the district’s DEP-ED, additional teachers are needed in 12 secondary annex schools in all towns of the province and six elementary schools specially located in far flung Paracelis.

Velasco said the need for extension positions shall be created by Congress. Should there be created positions, these shall be filled up by November this year, she said.

Additional teachers are needed in the elementary schools of Catao, Danaal, Burayoc, Muliang, Anonat, and Gassilang in Paracelis and Pingad in Sabangan. These schools registered more than 45 pupils per grade.

DepEd officials said one teacher was needed per 45 students in one grade.

There are 23,418 elementary pupils registered in school year 2006-2007 in 190 primary schools served by 987 teachers in this district.

Caotit primary school in Bauko has the least number of 10 pupils enrolled in one grade. Anonat elementary school in Paracelis has the biggest number of enrollees with 81 pupils in one grade served by one teacher.

In secondary schools, Betwagan national high school surpassed the 1:45 teacher-student ratio with 196 enrollees having only 4 teachers. The least ratio is found in Panabungen Schools of Arts, Trade, and Home Economics in Besao with 130 pupils served by 11 teachers.

At least 438 teachers served 10,829 students enrolled in 32 high schools spread throughout the ten towns of the province.

Yet, the number of teachers is still wanting in secondary schools.

Velasco said computation for the need of teachers is based on the location of the school and not on the total number of enrollees.

Cabna Graal Beleo, provincial DepEd planning officer said high school annexes are in need of 89 teachers including annexes in Tocucan, Bontoc; Belwang, Sadanga; Data, Sabangan; Sta Isabel, Natonin; Tipunan, Leseb, Mayag, Tapapan, and Bansa in Bauko; Palitod and San Rafael in Paracelis; Am-am, Tadian; and Lias in Barlig.

Beleo said these annex high school employ volunteer teachers paid by parents and the community with a measly honorarium. They need to be employed as regular teachers, she said.

Gassilang elementary school in Paracelis also employs a volunteer teacher with her honorarium paid by parents and the community.

Theories on fall of Josons in Nueva Ecija now political fodder

CABANATUAN CITY – The “fall from grace” of three-term Gov. Tomas N. Joson and his brother, Vice Gov. Mariano Cristino “Boyet” Joson, candidates for mayor of this city and governor of Nueva Ecija is now political fodder for pundits here.

The two Josons fell by the wayside due to the “crying need for change as the camp of 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Umali had kept on harping during the campaign period.

Nueva Ecija, since the time of the Joson patriarch (1959), former six-term Gov. Eduardo L. Joson – fondly called “Tatang” for his fatherly, wise words and vision – had been an “opposition province.”

Since 1959, the rule of the Josons had been continuous and interrupted until 1986 when “Tatang” was ousted in the aftermath of the EDSA “people power” revolution.

In 1988, the legendary Joson patriarch won another term. When he died, he was succeeded by Tomas III, and Eduardo Nonato. Since then, there had another 15-year winning run of the Josons that ended in the recent May 14 elections.

The only time the Josons had penetrated politics in this city was when Eduardo Joson III, also known as “Danding,” won as the city’s vice mayor in 1988.

The closest that family came close to sitting in the mayor’s office at city hall was when Danding challenged then Mayor Honorato Perez in the 1992 elections.

On Nov. 30 1990, Danding was killed in an ambush in Barfangay Canlibangbangan.

In fairness to the Josons, it may well be said that they have undertaken various projects, especially infrastructure, education through scholarships, and agriculture focusing on hybrid rice production and research on cash crops and high-value fruit trees.

But as the trends in vote preferences have shown not lonely in Nueva Ecija but also in other areas, there has been a prevalent anti-administration sentiment.

In Nueva Ecija alone, the “magic 12” senatorial list was dominated by nine-candidates and one Team Unity (TU) bet in the person of reelectionist Senator Edgardo Angara. This seems to indicate the “anti-administration mood” of the Nono Ecijano voters.

This enfolding phenomenon first surfaced in the province in the 2004 elections but, too bad, the Josons were committed to President Arroyo.

Aligning with the administration Laban party in 2004, Ms Arroyo suffered a spanking, no thanks to Fernando Poe Jr.

In the May 14, polls, the Josons junked its long-time alliance with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and sided with the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi), the President’s party. But all the “Queen’s men,” save Angara , suffered a drubbing.

And swept away as well were Governor Tommy and Vice Governor Boyet.

Many original Balane members who claimed membership since 1987 when it was founded were dismayed by the party-switching by the Josons.

They recalled that Gov. Tommy had, in 1988, coined the battle cry “Walang Iwanan,” referring to his alliance with ousted President Joseph Estrada.

The traditionalist “Tatang” followers said they were also hurt when brothers Tommy and Boyet junked the tie-up their father had formed with former Ambassador Eduardo with former Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco’s party in favor of KAMPI.

In the aftermath of the May 14 elections, there is clearly a need for the Josons to mend the political fences.

Left to do this are Edward Thomas, who won as vice governor, come-backing former governor Eduardo Nonato “Edno,” who emerged as Nueva Ecija’s 1st district representative; Eduardo Basilio Manuel Joson, who was reelected Mayor of Quezon town, the Josons’ hometown.

Another saving grace for the Josons: Three of the five city mayors and 20 of the 27 elected mayors belong to the Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (Balane) party, formed by the Josons in 1987.

Governor-elect Aurelio “Oyie” Umali was magnanimous in his victory in the recent elections, saying he was at the night time and at the right place when the changing of the guards had to take place.

Cabanatuan Mayor-elect Alvin Vergara, who bested Gov. Tommy in the city’s mayoral race, was prophetic.

He said it is God’s will,” referring to his victory in the polls.

171 persons nabbed, 153 guns seized in Ilocos PNP poll drive


VIGAN CITY – A total of 171 persons were arrested while 153 assorted firearms were seized in the Ilocos Region during the election period that started on Jan. 14 to date.
Regional police director Chief Supt. Leopoldo N. Bataoil bared this saying police filed 122 cases in court against the suspects.

He said statistics showed a total of 109 firearms were confiscated from gun-ban violators through police interventions, and 44 firearms were seized in raids authorized by search warrants.

But despite these, Bataoil said conduct of elections in the Ilocos was generally peaceful based on the monitoring by the Regional Election Monitoring Action Center of the Police Regional Office 1 based in San Fernando City , La Union.

“The REMAC scoreboard as of May 16, 2007 showed no occurrence of violence during the voting period on May 14 up to the counting of votes,” he said.

Bataoil said checkpoints were set up on the national highway and this will continue until the assumption of office by all winning candidates on July 1.

COA: Lot claimants can’t build structures in Baguio watershed

BAGUIO CITY – The Court of Appeals sustained the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples issuance of an injunction stopping the city government’s fencing of the Busol watershed but the court’s decision did not allow lot claimants to continue building structures within the watershed.

The was the clarification of city legal officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes to prevent misconception that the CA decision gave ancestral lot claimants who opposed the city’s plan to fence the area the imprimatur to construct structures or do activities that will destroy the watershed’s resources.

In a 16-page decision rendered last April 30,the CA junked the petition filed by the Baguio Regreening Movement represented by Councilor Erdolfo Balajadia, the office of the city architect and parks superintendent represented by then city architect Ignacio Estipona and the Busol Task Force headed by Moises Anipew assailing the NCIP injunction move but at the same time, it gave merit to the petitioners’ bid to protect the watershed from degradation.

“Indeed, allowing activities (that threaten or degrade the resources within the watershed) to continue without regard for environmental considerations would result in irreparable damage to the watershed and the ecosystem as a whole.

Unless and until viable measures or programs for the maintenance, preservation and development of the Busol Watershed are adopted, private respondents should be enjoined from constructing buildings and other improvements on the lands within the watershed.

Otherwise, the quality and quantity of the water supply of Baguio City , as well as the surrounding municipalities and the indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples, would be impaired,” the court noted.

The case stemmed from the city government’s plan to fence its side of the watershed to prevent intrusion from squatters.

However, lot claimants Elizabeth Mat-an, Judith Maranes, Helen Lubos, Magdalena Gumangan Que, spouses Alexander and Lucia Ampaguey and spouses Melanio and Carmen Panayo filed a petition before the NCIP for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the fencing project which they claimed would deny them access to their residences, farmlands and water sources.

The NCIP subsequently granted the petition but the BRM, OCAPS and Busol task force claimed that the NCIP has no jurisdiction over the case since the petition deals on the government’s fencing project and not on the ancestral land application.

They further contended that Busol watershed is a government reservation and therefore excluded from the coverage of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997.

In its decision, the CA however struck down the petitioners’ arguments and affirmed that NCIP has jurisdiction over the case “since the petition involves the protection of private respondents’ rights to their ancestral domains.”

The court also maintained that Busol watershed is not exempt from the coverage of the IPRA.

However, it enjoined the private respondents from “introducing constructions and engaging in activities that degrade the resources therein.”

New Kalinga solon vows better infra development

TABUK, Kalinga – Retired Public Works Assistant Secretary and Kalinga congressman-elect Manuel S. Agyao assured his province mates of a revitalized infrastructure development that will translate to economic progress in the far flung communities of this lowland province of the Cordillera.

The provincial board of canvassers recently proclaimed Agyao as the winning candidate for the position of congressman in the province after he was able to garner 23,890 votes while his closest rival, James Bijarin, son-in-law of incumbent Kalinga Rep. Lawrence Wacnang, was able to garner 22,500 votes. Former regional director Macario Duguiang of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) in the Cordillera, who tired his luck for the congressional seat for the second time was able to get 20,300 votes.

The former ranking DPWH official disclosed that among his priorities would be the completion of the upgrading of the Tanuda-Barlig road and the on-going upgrading of the Bontoc-Tabuk-Tuguegarao roadline which will improve the accessibility of rural areas to the urban centers in the Cordillera and Region II.

At the same time, Agyao cited that the development of farm to market roads in the different barangays of the province would help improve the economic activities of the people which would translate to improved sources of income and livelihood.

He emphasized that infrastructure development goes hand in hand with economic development and the realization of both would be dependent on the political will of national and local leaders who are elected by the people to govern them for the next three years.

Agyao, who ran under the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) ticket of the Arroyo administration in the province, decided to enter the political scene to continue his service to the people of Kalinga after he retied as an Assistant Secretary of the DPWH last December.

Prior to entering politics, Agyao was considered to have rose from the ranks as he was the former assistant district engineer and district engineer of the Benguet Engineering district before he took over the post of assistant regional director of the DPWH-CAR in the middle 1990s.

He was then appointed as the regional director of the DPWH-CAR sometime in 1997 before being promoted as DPWH Assistant Secretary in 2002 where he stayed until his retirement.

Cancer-stricken kid wants to go to school

BAGUIO CITY -- Like normal kids his age, six-year old John Brix de Guzman will sign up early tomorrow morning when enrollment opens in the public schools. His mother Brenda says the boy really wants to be in the first grade at the Quezon Elementary School .

She knows – more than other mothers, that her boy - more than any normal kid, needs that assurance of being there – with his bag, pencil, eraser and notebooks when classes open on June 4.

"That's why his doctor set his confinement just after he's enrolled, " said Brenda, a 30-year old barbecue vendor who is due to deliver her third child next September.

From school, the kid will be wheeled into the pedia ward of the Baguio General Hospital for his next round of treatment. The five-day confinement should have began last Friday yet, but Brenda and husband Johnny couldn't buy the three vials of Leunase needed for his chemotherapy.

The sign of cancer - a lump on the shoulder - appeared last January. The next month, John Brix stayed 12 days in the hospital as doctors tried to pinpoint what’s wrong. A bone marrow biopsy pointed to ALL, or acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

ALL is cancer of the blood. It’s characterized by overproduction of malignant and immature white blood cells that, unlike normal ones, can’t fight infection. It’s acute because it develops fast.

John Brix, who’ll turn seven on July 18, spent summer on six weeks of intravenous systemic chemotherapy. It was the initial step in a three-year treatment schedule that includes taking in daily medicines his financially strapped parents can hardly sustain.

In-between attending class and learning to write his lengthy name, spell, add and subtract, he’ll submit to quarterly intrathecal chemo, the injection of anti-cancer drugs into the thin covering of the spinal cord or brain.

Last Thursday, his daily oral dose ran out. His mother, who had to stop skewering barbecues, went out again to scrounge for funds. His father, an eatery dishwasher, has been sidelined since last January due to bone injury caused by a bad fall.

Late in the afternoon, Brenda received P1,000, which will be good for a week’s dosage. The amount was half of a cash donation set aside by a young Baguio sportsman for another patient but advised its diversion for the boy’s needs.

Same day, Brenda called the hospital. She was told another mother with a four-year old girl also stricken with leukemia had just deposited three vials of Leunase for John Brix’s consolidation chemo tomorrow.

“She offered to lend the medicine which she purchased but may no longer need as her daughter’s prescription has been changed,” Brenda explained with relief. “We have to pay later as she’ll also need the cash for her child’s treatment.”

As this was being written Friday, Freddie de Guzman, a Baguio boy now working in Canada , called. He’ll be sending some amount end of the month to cover the cost of the chemo drug estimated at P8,400 and to replenish the P1,000.

De Guzman, an architect with three young daughters, has been reaching out to indigent patients here since April last year. He began with Linda Claire (not her real name), a widow with nine children who’s recuperating from breast cancer.

Recently, he sent P17,000. Ten thousand pesos will be for widow Grace Biogan who’s figuring out how to raise three kids. Her husband Elmer succumbed to lymphoma late last month.

“The remaining amount will be for Filbert Almoza,” he advised. He was referring to a 24-year old truck driver who from Camisong, Itogon, Benguet who’s been into twice-a-week dialysis since June last year for kidney failure.

An Ibaloi woman raising her young daughter in Kentucky likewise sent $200 for other patients. “My heart goes out to many who are ill at this time and have difficulty paying medical bills,” she wrote.

Like de Guzman, the lady donor has been regularly sending support since last year, at a time she was also undergoing remission for cancer.

The two Samaritans and Joel Aliping, another Baguio boy living in California , earlier teamed up for Elmer Biogan’s fight. Joel’s latest support helped pay the bills for Elmer’s burial.

Together with Guy Aliping, Joel’s brother in Australia , they are hopeful for another patient they supported – 40-year old Rose Ann Cordova of Outlook Drive Barangay. The mother of three young boys is now on remission from breast cancer.

Irwin Ilustre, another Baguio boy based in Canada, was here recently personally reaching out to other patients that included Pidiong Bandao, an 11-year old orphan going blind due to complications of diabetes.

A walk-in donor who requested anonymity, also entrusted P6,000 to bank executive Rolly de Guzman of RCBC. Part of the amount paid for the needs of Almoza and 16-year old heart patient Crisly Anayasan on their way to and from Manila for their check-ups.

Others who would like to help John Brix go to school may call up his mother’s cellphone number - 09108085009. Perhaps to ask if he’s ready with his school bag, Mongol, notebooks, writing pad and all that a first grader would need.

Many surprises sprung in Pampanga May 14 polls

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga – Lots of surprises characterized the elections in Pampanga, President Arroyo’s home province.

At the start of the campaign, Pampanga residents were surprised that local officials of Gov. Mark Lapid’s hometown of Porac abandoned him and vowed support for his rival, provincial board member Lilia “Baby” Pineda.

When suspended priest Fr. Ed Panlilio announced his bid to join the gubernatorial race, the local residents expressed surprise.

At the outset, many believed that the priest had no chance of defeating two traditional and financially capable political bigwigs.

They were, however, surprised in the end: Among Ed defeated the two powerful politicians.

Another unexpected happened in the town of Bacolor where reelectionist Mayor Buddy Dungca, known supporter of Pineda, ran unopposed.

In that town Pineda won by a margin of some 400 votes only.

Lapid and Pineda, both widely known as President’s Arroyo’s supporters, surprised many Kapampangans for opposing each other.

This could not have happened if Lapid had listened to majority of mayors who had said that he considers Pampanga Mayors League president Dennis Pineda, son of Lilia and mayor of Lubao, as his vice-gubernatorial candidate.

Lapid insisted on choosing Con Con Laus, a neophyte in politics, as his running mate.

This move “angered” many mayors who decided to abandon him and convince Lilia to run.

At least 17 mayors formed a coalition and asked Lilia to run. She was eventually defeated by Among Ed who had a margin of more than 1,000 votes only.

Impartial politics observers said it was surprising that Lapid and Pineda who reportedly spent millions of pesos were defeated by a suspended priest who did not even have his own candidates for vice governor, congressman, provincial board members and mayors.

Surprisingly, all sectors in the province from professional and business groups and ordinary people, including other priests, campaign and contributed whatever they can for the candidacy of Among Ed.

Another surprise came about when the camp of Pineda, although not actually herself, reportedly fielded a leader in Apalit who had lost confidence and influence in that town.
As a result, Lilia lost by some 2,000 votes there.

Mayor Boking Morales ran for his fifth term and won by some 800 votes in Mabalacat. The Supreme Court authorizes him to run for seven terms up to 2016.

“What’s more surprising in the case of Boking was that his third term could have been terminated in 2004 had his perennial opponent, Anthony Dee did not file a protest in court.
Although Dee won and was declared winner, the court decision did not work favorably for him,” said a supporter of Morales.

Instead, the court action was a blessing in disguise for Boking with an interregnum in his three terms.

As a result, Boking was authorized to run for reelection in 2004, which was legally recognized as his first term.

“Was it not surprising that repeated representations by concerned officials to establish special polling precincts in resettlement centers were not considered or given favorable action by the Comelec?” asked Congressman-elect Dong Gonzales (3rd District).

Thousands of registered voters of Bacolor who were displaced by the fury of Mt. Pinatubo are still living in these resettlement centers and have been encountering difficulty in commuting to their old precincts to vote in previous elections.

Many lost interest again to vote last election.

“Some more surprises are forth-coming reports that the think-tank of Among Ed was planning to convince him to designate chaplains in the police service as provincial police director and city and municipal chiefs of police,” a reelected mayor said.

These chaplains are graduates of seminary institutions and who do not have any actual formal police trainings.

The action of this plan by PNP chief Director General Oscar Calderon could be another surprise.

Lady bet makes it on 4th attempt

CABIAO, Nueva Ecija – If at first you didn’t succeed, try again. And again and again. In her fourth attempt, Lakas CMD standard bearer Abunda Garcia finally made it to the mayorship of this town, ousting comebacking candidate Ireneo Manahan, of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino-Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija.

It was sweet victory for “Sister Biding,” as she is fondly addressed by her townmates, especially since she also beat the Manahan’s relative, the incumbent mayor Gloria Congco, who with Manahan, ruled this agricultural community for 18 straight years.

Garcia’s husband, Joe, also made it to the line-up of eight municipal councilors. Garcia first tried her luck in politics in 1995.

Manahan beat her with a plurality of 1,500 votes. Her election protest of alleged massive election irregularities did not prosper.

In the 1998 and 2004 mayoralty races, she ran and lost on both counts to outgoing three-term mayor Gloria Crespo-Congco, a close kin of Mark Jimenez, who went by the name Maria Crespo when he was still a resident here.

Garcia also lost her 2004 election protest. This time around, riding on the battle-cry, “Subukan naman ninyo ako,” she came through, with 16,612 votes as against Manahan’s 14,393 votes, giving her an edge of 2,219 votes.



Exemplars of public service in the Cordillera

Efforts in the search for the “finest breed of public servants in the Cordillera” brought forth 65 nominations for this year’s honor awards program of officials and employees in the region.
Lorenzo Danipog, Cordillera regional director of the Civil Service Commission bared this saying this was in response to the “2007 search for outstanding public officials and employees.”

Regional government agencies have submitted nominations of their officials and employees for three award categories: Lingkod Bayan Award (35), Dangal ng Bayan Award (12) and Pagasa Award (18).

Last year, a total of 58 individual and group awardees from the Cordillera distinguished themselves as national exemplars in the annual search. From 1988 to 2006, 22 Cordillera officials and employees have been recognized as Lingkod Bayan awardees.

From 1990 to 2006, the region produced 26 Dangal ng Bayan awardees. The Cordillera ranked second nationwide, next only to National Capital Region for both categories while it shared the 5th slot with Region IV in the Pagasa Award category.

Ten Pagasa awardees came from the Cordillera in 1984-1985 and 1988-2006.
Recognition and conferment of awards to winners shall be during the month-long celebration of the anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service on September.

Lingkod Bayan awardees will receive a gold medallion, a plaque containing the citation and signature of the President of the Philippines and cash award of P100,000. The Dangal ng Bayan awardee shall receive a trophy designed and made by National Artist Napoleon V. Abueva and P100,000 cash reward. The Pagasa awardee, individual or group, shall receive a gold medallion, a plaque containing the citation and signature of the chairperson of the CSC and P50,000 cash reward.

Aside from regular incentives, additional incentives in the form of scholarship privileges in CSC partner schools may be given to individual awardees in the three award categories (Dangal ng Bayan, Lingkod Bayan and Pagasa Awards).

The Benguet State University became the latest addition to the list of CSC – Cordillera partner schools in this endeavor. On April 16, Dr. Rogelio D. Colting, BSU president and CSC’s Danipog signed a memorandum of agreement for the “BSU – CSC Study Grant” to enable HAP awardees to avail of the scholarship program at the University. Congratulations!



State and religion
Alfred P. Dizon

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said while there is no constitutional violation in the case of a priest getting elected into public office, there is clearly an infraction of the Universal Church Law.

In his web log posted on May 23, Cruz wrote certain objective policy concerns “begging for attention and resolution.”

“They are basically about the significance and implications brought about by the recent fact of a priest (becoming) governor or a governor-priest-elect-or whatever,” he said.
Cruz said for the State, the Constitution forbids its adoption of an official religion for the Republic. He added for the Church, on the other hand, the universal Canon Law prohibits any cleric-deacon, priest and bishop from assuming any public office that partakes of the exercise of civil power.

“In the case of a priest taking over the exercise of the gubernatorial office or a province – or any higher or lower public officer for that matter – there is evidently no violation of the pertinent constitutional provision. But in the same case, there is clearly an infraction of the Universal Church Law,” he said

The prelate did not mention whom he was referring to. But Cruz’s statement came following the proclamation of Pampanga governor-elect Eddie Panlilio, who was suspended of his priestly duties after filing his certificate of candidacy.
Cruz also cited the question of precedence, saying “in the event that the priest and governor, at the same time, decide to resign for whatever reason or to quit politics at the end of his term, there would be no issue if during his incumbency or at the end thereof, the priest eventually decides to ask for a dispensation from his obligations arising from the reception of sacred order.”

But there is a problem if he wants to resume his priestly ministry and if his bishop actually accepts him back as a priest in full standing before the Church, Cruz said.

The separation of the church and the state had been a sticky question. But in the Philippine setting, maybe it is high time priests should have a more active role in governance provided they have the intelligence, education and training to dispense duties of the state.

Our system of government is seeping with corruption in all levels as revealed by many a watchdog. Maybe, there should be more priests in government agencies like the Commission on elections which people believe is ripe for an overhaul of its personnel and heads.

There should be more people in government like priests who are good examples of what a public servant should be. If the heads of agencies are not corrupt and are headed by men of integrity like priests, then their subalterns will follow. As a tagalong saying goes, “Ang mangga ay hindi namumunga ng bayabas.”

As cause-oriented groups say, if there are a lot of problems on how the government is being run, it is because some if not most heads of government are not doing their jobs right and are downright corrupt.

It is because of these that it is worth interesting to see how governor-elect Fr. Eddie Panlilio would run the affairs of Pampanga, the President’s home province and considered the jueteng capital of the country. If he would be able to stop the numbers game, that would be an accomplishment considering that it is illegal.

But as of this time, Panlilio announced he doesn’t only want jueteng, stopped but also the government-sanctioned small town lottery (STL) stopped in this province. The priest must be knowledgeable about the game since according to him, “STL is cover-up for jueteng, so if we have stop jueteng, STL has to go, too.”

Re-elected Vice Gov. Joseller “Yeller” Guiao, whose Kampi running mate Lilia Pineda lost in the gubernatorial race, vowed to support Panlilio’s call to wipe out the illegal numbers game.

Guiao, however, said the provincial board has approved the current STL operation in the province and if the STL permit has to be renewed under the new provincial administration, then it will have to be approved again by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, but the new governor can veto it.

According to Guiao, the vetoed STL proposal can again be approved and take into effect should three-fourths of the board members support it. He said he would seek alternative livelihood for jueteng workers as well as those involved in STL operations should the legal numbers game also be stopped.

Police authorities in Central Luzon , including Pampanga police director Senior Superintendent Keith Singian, have admitted that jueteng operators use STL as front for their activities.

Now Panlilio is saying he has heeded the advice of his supporters so now, he wears a bullet-proof vest and spends his nights in undisclosed places due to threats to his life even after the elections. His days of wearing a cassock are over – for now as he has to attend to more real life situations than be confined in the comforts of his church.

Singian said there was “no confirmation” that more threats hound Panlilio, so he advised him to “relax”. I don’t know what kind of police officer Singian is since seemingly, he takes security lightly.

“If anything happens to him (Panlilio), the suspect will be obvious,” Singian told newsmen but did not elaborate. At present, he said five policemen continue to provide security to the new governor.

Panlilio must now be realizing that preaching from the pulpit is different from confronting the harsh realities of life as a public official. People are saying how upright and dignified Panlilio is -- something we couldn’t say of other high priests in other religious denominations like the Anglicans who know how to sell and grab lands that are not theirs. Bato bato sa langit ang tamaan huwag magalit, magdasal na lang at magbago.Anyway to Panlilio – good luck Father – err Sir.

I got an email from the office of reelectionist Sen. Edgardo Angara saying, “Now that the election is over, let us all get to work, united as one body committed to the welfare of our country.”

This statement of Angra wouldn’t have landed in this column if not for the indefatigable Swanny Dicang who treated us along with Ramon Dacawi at a village beside a beach in La Union last week. I was kidding Manong Swanny, he is the Angara of the Cordillera if the latter is not around and he answered with a grunt. So for those who would like to win next elections, get the services of Manong Swanny who has the vigor of a 20-year old. Nothing beats experience as he would always say with a hearty laugh.

Anyway, in the email, Angara asked the nation “to exorcise the spirit of negativism so we can move forward, not hobbled by the animosity caused by politicking. National politicians should set an example of unity because the local leaders, taking the cue, will follow.”

The senator said this is important because the country is presented with opportunity in the next three years as all economic indicators are very favorable, and this should trigger an economic renaissance.

“The country must seize this opportunity to grow and prosper, meaning that politicians of all stripes must work together and present a hospitable climate to investors,” he said, adding “Let’s not miss this event because of political bickering.”

Angara said it is now, not later, that the leaders must secure the future because our population will hit the 100-million mark in three years and “we are becoming less and less competitive,” which is stopping progress, while “globalization rolls inexorably on. We got to arrest it (the decline) because we will never be able to survive the new globalized economy with millions of ill-trained, worst, maltrained population,” he said, calling for an upgrade in science and mathematics education.

Angara said that whatever the result of the election must be ennobling to all: “The losers must have the wisdom and fortitude to accept defeat and the winners must have the grace and humility to embrace victory so that we can put this election behind us and face the future with renewed devotion to the welfare of the people.”



Sympathy votes
Edison L. Baddal

In a mysterious turn of events, a kind of curious deviation was observed during the last elections. In the race for local positions in Cordillera, not a few family members who took the cudgels for their deceased kin clobbered their respective opponents convincingly.

The deaths, though, were not all due to electoral violence as some were due to natural causes. Interestingly, some of the winning candidates were widowed (or rendered a widower) in the course of the campaign while others became sort of nemesis for a brother’s violent death months prior to the campaign.

Either whether this is a new phenomenon or not in the political landscape of the country cannot be categorically concluded yet. Nevertheless, based from election results, chances are a novel paradigm is in the offing in the dynamics of Philippine elections. As an adage stressed, nothing is permanent except change and if this is any indication of more favorable changes to color the profile of future elections, then change through the ballot will finally become reality.

In Mt. Province at least two candidates who were deprived of their respective mates during the elections won in the positions they aspired for. Or, more specifically, the position that their deceased mate aspired to.

One such winner is Eufemia Lamen. A long time professor of the Mountain Province State Polytechnique College, she was thrust as a substitute candidate for board member of District I in place of her husband Binky after the latter was downed by a fatal stroke in a campaign sortie in the early days of the campaign.

Her hubby was then running for the position. Incidentally, she has never been a candidate herself for any political position before. But she always campaigned energetically for her husband in whatever political fray her husband dabbled in and this could be her first exposure to the rough and tumble of politics.
Many in the know contend that her indefatigable sorties in every corner of the province during electoral campaign contributed significantly to her hubby’s victories. This is aside from having the glitter of the magic name of “Lamen” appended to the name.

The husband is the namesake of that fightingest, outspoken and most revered politician hereabouts, Alfredo G. Lamen, Sr. For her staunch support, Alfredo G. Lam-en Jr., more known as “Binky”, won as vice-governor in 1988. When no governor was proclaimed in 1988, he was installed as acting governor from 1988-1991. He also served as board member for District I from 1998-2001. No less than the wife’s unstinting support was credited for both victories.

Last May 14, Femy as she’s fondly called, emerged number one from a horde of 14 aspirants for the four slots of board member for District I. Many are implying that the sympathy generated by the sudden demise of her hubby may have contributed a lot to the win. From all indications, this could be partly true although other factors could have also contributed.

Having once worked with her up close and personal, I dare say that some of her endearing traits as a person likewise contributed in no small measure to her victory. These traits, like her spunky mettle and profound savvy, certainly served her in good stead in the run-up to the elections.

Moreover, the hundreds of students that she mentored at MPSPC could have surely rallied to her side through their votes. Precisely, all the equations that factored in her victory only indicate that the win was no fluke although the pathos of sympathy certainly factored considerably in it.

In the same manner, councilor-elect Alexander Fakat of Tocucan, Bontoc became a widower in the course of the campaign. An obscure candidate but nonetheless carrying a well known name in the capital town, there is no doubt that the sympathy generated by the personal tragedy became his wellspring of votes.

Though it could be said that he could have won even without the tragedy despite a relatively humble background, the pathos due from the incident unmistakably redounded to his favor. It definitely upped his electoral chances. Thus, his lack of education and a humble background notwithstanding, he bested all his rivals to the post of councilor with a number one rank in the just concluded elections.

Elsewhere in other parts of the Cordilleras , sympathy and empathy won the day through poll victories for some candidates.
In Kalinga, for instance, the widow of Atty. Diasen is currently pacing the votes by a mile over Rep. Wacnang for the governorship. If the trend continues in her favor (she could have been proclaimed at this time of writing sans legal impediments), she would be the first electoral lass of the province. This would be an upset win as the latter has been lording it over the politics of Kalinga for two decades and hitherto undefeated.

Atty. Diasen, the incumbent vice-governor then, was slain at Tabuk, Kalinga in broad daylight allegedly by a young assailant. This transpired while the former was speaking at a campaign rally sometime in March while he was campaigning then for governor. Taking the bull by the horns, his aggrieved wife garnered empathy and sympathy borne out of the tragedy and galvanized support for the bereaved widow as evidenced by her preponderance of votes over her more seasoned opponent.

Same mold is developing in Abra where a spate of killings of elective leaders, widely believed to be politically motivated, virtually turned the province into a no man’s land in the last few years. The serialized killings started with the murder of Mayor Segundo in 2001, followed by the gunning down of Mayor Benwaren. Assassins were about to liquidate a lady mayor’s family but one got cold feet and spilled the beans to the authorities so that the odious plan was eventually abandoned.

The last straw that practically broke the camel’s back was the cold-blooded assassination of being trounced by his lady rival in the race for congressman. On the other hand, his wife has been soundly kayoed by her stalwart rival. The late Congressman Bersamin’s death ignited sympathy for the bereaved family through massive votes. In the same vein, Luna’s current preponderance of votes over those of Valera is also an expression of silent empathy over the killing and wounding of her supporters during the campaign period.

In February, 1986, Corazon Aquino faced Marcos in a snap poll. She was forced to run against Marcos on the crest of national indignation brought by the assassination of her husband on August 21, 1983. However, the formidable machinery of Marcos denied her the win by massive vote-padding. Eventually, his rump parliament, with utmost effrontery literally smashed Aquino’s bid by declaring Marcos the winner.

Prior to that brutal killing, a series of protests was held against Marcos as he was then commonly believed to have masterminded the killing being the political foe of Ninoy. The protests, an expression of empathy of the Filipino people to the Aquino family for the murder, became a daily occurrence in the thoroughfares of Metro Manila since 1983.

After Aquino was cheated of the victory, the protests worsened and literally engulfed the whole country until it culminated to EDSA I. This first people’s revolution forced Marcos to flee to Australia with family and sycophants in tow on February 25, 1986. This catapulted Cory Aquino to the presidency.
On its heels, in another part of the globe, another widow by the name of Violeta Chamorro, toppled the socialist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua sometime in 1990. She was widowed when her husband was among those caught in the maelstrom of a violent social upheaval after the Sandinista rebels came to power after toppling erstwhile Nicaraguan leader Antonio Somoza in 1979.

Styling herself as the personification of nemesis and democracy in the mold of Cory, she aptly used the cognomen of Violy. She ran and won against Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega in the elections in 1990 anchored on the sympathy and empathy of the majority of the Nicaraguans. Having championed then the ideals of democracy during the campaign she is credited for having restored democracy in Nicaragua after consolidating power.

Be that as it may, achieving power on the crest popular sympathy is entirely different when parlaying such power for the good of the greatest number. Election to a position is no picnic even as it is not meant for one to live in clover. Somehow, a comparatively easy victory demands huge responsibility. How to transform such popular trust and confidence into noteworthy public service requires a lot of hard work, perseverance, probity, mettle and reasonable competence. It does not come cheap much more as it involves public interest. In prosaic terms, those who gained from popular sympathy must be up to the task of their elective position, nothing more, nothing less.



North and South views in Schumacher
Ramon S. Dacawi

With its advances in science and technology, the West, for long, has dismissed
indigenous knowledge, beliefs and systems as irrelevant. The western world view has been marked by a feeling of superiority, given its successes in economic well-being that are its mark of civilization.

The “ Old World ” took upon itself to label regions ofits conquest as “The New World” and, in our case, “TheThird World”. More recently, it tagged both as “The South”, a collective reference to underdeveloped, still to be developed or still developing countries, and itself as “The North”.

Paeng Gayaso, who works in advancing cooperatives, narrated how an Indian bristled when he heard a resource speaker use the terms in a forum both were attending. The fellow pointed out that India ’s civilization was flourishing long before Europe itself moved on from its barbaric and medieval stages.

The North’s domination of the South for its resource base meant the imposition of the former’s own systems, in the process destroying traditional and indigenous knowledge and systems. It was only recently that the so-called “civilized world” began to explore indigenous wisdom for its relevance in addressing environmental problems being whipped up by its advances in science and technology. The Old World is taking a closer look at these vanishing systems for their value in achieving “sustainable development”, that label world leaders dished out in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

The issue of domination was discussed by Deborah Bird Rose, an American-Australian anthropologist during a three-week course in March on “Indigenous Peoples and the Natural World” offered by Schumacher College in Devon, United Kingdom. Rose is a Senior Fellow at the Australian National University who has served as adviser in the adjudication of cases involving land rights of Australia ’s Aborigines.

Schumacher College , as it introduces itself, is an international center for ecological studies. It was established in 1991 by Satish Kumar, an Indian who, in his youth, set out on foot to deliver to the leaders of the nuclear world a message for peace. Schumacher was inspired by and named in honor of E.F. Schumacher, the renowned economist who wrote the classic book“Small is Beautiful”.

Schumacher called for “a nobler economics that is not afraid to discuss spirit and conscience, moral purpose and the meaning of life, an economics that aims to educate and elevate people”.

The College, established on a estate in the scenic English countryside, offers a masters degree in holistic science and short courses focusing on globalization, sustainability, alternative development models, ecological perspectives of psychology, spirituality and philosophy, ecological design and technology. Its approach is towards transformation of its students, many of whom emerge with a deeper sense of purpose and clearer direction in their work of trying to bring communities closer to what they should be.

“Schumacher College changes people’s lives. It is a place for reflection and engagement, for the heart and the head, for the individual and the community. Through learning, sharing and celebration it is empowerment in practice, and if for a moment an opportunity presents itself to become a “graduate” of this very different place of learning, then seize it.” – Jonathan Porritt.

The course on indigenous peoples gathered 21 students from Europe, North and South America and Asia , many of whom are development workers attached to non-government organizations involved in advancing the causes of indigenous peoples. Some seized the opportunity, perhaps to find meaning and direction.

Lectures, discussions, film showing, medications and field trips marked the three-week course. In-between, participants did household work, cooking, gardening and meditation.

“Why are we here?,” one student asked at the opening of an evening discussion by the fire. “We are here to celebrate life,” the venerable Kumar answered.

Schumacher College did not issue certificates of completion at the end of the course. The class didn’t mind and no one asked for the document. Given the transforming substance of the experience, they found no need for the paper form. (Next week: The Aboriginal view. e-mail:rdacawi@yahoo.com for comments).



The teacher
Benito ‘Jong’ Molintas

Reading the Filipino newspaper published in California reminded me of elections in the Philippines with all its danger and comedy. With the results of the May 14 election known and after winning candidates delivered their victory pieces, I believe only a few appreciated the worth of the teachers who did their job to ensure that the electoral process went on smoothly.

They are indeed heroes because of the sacrifices they have undergone especially against the goons of politicians who tried to steal ballot boxes. The goons toted guns but the teachers armed with their professional dignity stood up to them.

Their nobility in the communities is a testament that they are worthy to be called heroes. To my fellow educators, I personally salute your efforts and to serve our country and people. The last election has proven that you could be honorable men and women despite your low salary as budgeted by the politicians whom you protected their ballots during the elections.

It is a plea to officials that someday they will give their all-out support to education and to teachers. I say this because some consider learning especially in the countryside as one of their least priorities.

Yes, these types of officials were able to put up buildings, but the knowledge of some teachers remained stagnant due to factors like the following: insufficient reference materials, lack of training and exposure, selfishness of head teachers among others.

The problem of insufficient books is the biggest factor in the deterioration of education. A textbook is shared by two students that hinder the other to read ahead of the lesson.
Worst, some books are not updated or there is lack of materials to use for a particular subject.

Greediness of the echelons is a rampant practice of people who are in power.
If opportunities arise like seminars and activities outside the school where teachers can master a little bit of their field of specialty, the answer of the head teacher is “There are no finances for that.”

But if it is for the head’s seminar, it is a must and the per diems are readily given to her. I’m lucky I had good bosses like Pascual Sacgaca, now the a Department of Education Supervisor of Mountain Province and Marcelita Moises, the Principal of Sabangan National High School who were very open to their teachers when it came to training.

They focused on the growth of their teachers, students, and the school as a whole. I just don’t know how I can repay the goodness of these bosses – guys my bag of thanks though.
On the other hand, teachers who wanted to develop and mature as teachers have been hampered by their low salaries. How I wish too that students especially in the countryside of the Cordillera will experience the same thing as students experience in the US .

They are given a lot of opportunities for their physical and mental growth. They work working while studying and schools find jobs or give jobs and a lot of trainings to them. Teachers are not also hard up with their materials because of ready access to the internet.

Teaching in the Korea International School , books are primary resources of knowledge, but surfing the internet enriched my knowledge and made me abreast with more knowledge and techniques on teaching, more so that I am handling SAT subjects which we don’t have it in the Philippines .

SAT is a subject that prepares students for their examination in well-known universities in countries like the US and Canada .

Despite their handicaps, teachers in the Philippines can still have growth in teaching as long as there is cooperation and support from their peers and chiefs. In this case, they are motivated to do their best and impart knowledge or what they learned from their trainings. Exploring ideas from different levels and facets will surely enrich the thought of the learners. The educational system won’t deteriorate as a result.



Election hang-ups
Gina Dizon

A friend narrated how he came across a man walking on the street alone and holding some polyetos. My friend offered him a ride and asked him who he was campaigning for. The man said he was campaigning for himself.

Surprised, my friend asked him if he walked in all the ten towns of the province to campaign for himself. The candidate said he didn’t have a car so he rode in public transport and campaigned to the passengers while in the bus or jeep. Good strategy. The candidate lost however by many votes.

While walking inside villages and personally getting in touch with people is a good strategy, it is not an effective way to get votes. Walking comes along with a proven track record and having many relatives.

Former board member Fr. Eduardo Solang hiked the trails and streets of the towns of Bauko, Tadian, Sabangan, Sagada to campaign for his candidacy during the May elections in 2001. He won. This was an exceptional and exemplary case.

The good reverend father gained a track record as a staunch human rights worker and indigenous peoples rights advocate through the years. He also served as a priest in Bauko and Tadian thus gaining votes from there. He traces his roots from Sagada and relatives of his wife from Tadian, which added up to more votes.

What was similar though in the above examples was that both candidates showed how it was not to spend too much money during elections in order to prevent eventual corruption.

I asked Padi Solang earlier how much he spent during the 2001 elections and he said at least P200,000. The money was used especially for food of supporters and people who visited his home.

I asked one board member candidate how much he spent during the previous elections and he said nearly half a million pesos which went to food, transportation and pollwatchers’ allowance. He won. He rarely walked, yet his winning came along with a proven track record and having many relatives and support from friends.

Here’s to this winning young board member to keep a pro-people record and steer away from corruption-related tendencies. I happened to talk to the wife of a former congressman-governor of Mountain Province and she said, her husband spent something like P200,000 which went to food and transportation all over the then undivided Mountain Provinces. That was in the 70’s when there was no vote buying then.

Today, the P200,000 is estimated to be nearly 1.5 million pesos. Yet, a candidate for congressman would need multi-millions in order to win. With a minimum of two poll watchers paid P1,500 each and deployed in 620 precincts in Mt. Province for example, nearly 2 million pesos is needed for this minimum number of poll watchers. This amount excludes the other assistors’ allowance; food and transportation of supporters, and campaign materials including publicity and possibly, money to buy votes.

What am I saying? One needs money in order to win. Where to get all the money? Either the candidate will mortgage or sell his house, borrow money from the bank or
from usurers, or do magic with public funds. Need I say more? Corruption stinks and this
topic is already emphasized too much. Let us dream of the day that the candidate during elections will:

  • File his candidacy based on a proven track record and his capacity to lead and serve his constituents, and not on the number of his relatives or the thickness of his money.
  • Not buy votes or entice voters with money, insurance benefits, pigs or digicards.
  • Not make elections a time to make money.
  • Walk the talk.
  • Other reasons which would do away with patronage politics and corruption.

Let us dream of the day when the electorate will:

  • Not sell their votes. Vote based on the candidate’s proven track record and capacity to lead.
  • Vote based on issues and not on the money or gifts he receives from the candidate.
  • Avoid making the candidate corrupted.

A shot at the moon? These dreams are attainable. If Neil Armstrong was able to land on the moon, we human beings would be able to realize the above. It starts with believing, acting on the belief with participatory governance from elected public officials.



Abusive Baguio school and barangay officials
by Rudy Garcia

The Election is over but the game of politics is not. This is like an endless game with all those politicians as players. Some can be the winners now but losers tomorrow. Lucky were those who still emerged as winners for the nth times. But there can be no permanent victory or unlucky forever, no permanent political party, opponent or supporter.

In this game, the public is audience while the referee or the regulating body is the Commission on Elections. Some play fair and square and others play dirty. There are dirty tacticians and it is sad to note that, the Comelec seems reluctant in going after the violators.

Meanwhile, even the public seems to be silent on whatever they hear and see and prefer to look the other way around. This is politics, Pinoy style where candidates with the 3Gs (guns, goons and gold) rule.

In Baguio City the proclamation is over but there are still some who don’t want to concede and accept defeat. There are allegations of vote buying and intimidation but have yet to see these complaints filed formally with the Comelec, otherwise we can say that these people making the allegations are just sourgraping, period.

Nevertheless, we already have a new set of local government leaders who will be in charge of the city’s administration. I hope these new pilots or ship captains of the city will make good their promises and perform their platforms. We urge the citizens to cooperate and help the new leaders on our common visions and goals to make this beloved city a true character city and restore its good image and apt tag as the cleanest and greenest City.

If there are incompetent Professional Regulatory Commission executives, there are also incompetent administrators of public schools in Baguio . The ongoing enrollment in public elementary and high schools is making students and their parents hard up because of incompetence of some persons in charge.

These school leaders never learn lessons from the past. They still adapt the old method instead of new strategies to avoid old problems and inconveniences. Look at what is going on at the Pines City National High School along Palma St.

I bet, this is not the only school of this kind) and because of poor leadership you can see the long and crowded lines of students and parents outside and inside its premises morning and afternoon.

They should have anticipated the influx of students because of increasing 1st year high school enrollees and transferees from private schools. They don’t even have the proper information and dissemination. I bet if everyone was informed of what to wear, what to bring and minimum of money to bring for the enrollment, ID picture and so forth, people wouldn’t have been given such a hard time.

Can you imagine a student coming to school as early as 4 a. m. and made to line up and after several hours of waiting, prevented from going inside because he doesn’t have a uniform, didn’t have the prescribed haircut and enough money to pay this and that?

Don’t these intelligent people know the meaning of good leadership and compassion for the underprivileged? It’s no wonder the parents who came from these schools I happened to meet were fuming mad and I can’t blame them. I hope the Department of Education can do something on this matter of concern! Anu sey nyu diyan mga bosing sa Kagawaran ng Edukasyon? Hoy! gising!

There is a need for the Baguio City council to fast-track the approval of a measure made by councilor Elmer Datuin regulating all internet and computer shops in Baguio particularly on overnight promos.

Here, it will be prohibited for minors to play overnight in any internet cafe or computer shop without the approval and guidance of their qualified guardians. This is a welcome measure from the good councilor since there are noted computer or internet shops allowing minors to play overnight without any consent of guardians.

The operators of these businesses forgot their social responsibilities: they don’t care if the health, studies and behavior of these children are affected. Their priority is the good income they earn from this promo. Anyway, their days are numbered since once approved, we will be the first to ask the police and authorities concerned to enforce this immediately. Ano say niyo dito, kayo jan sa city council? Pakibilisan naman ang kilos para maaprubahan na itong magandang panukala ni councilor Datuin.

I would like again to call the attention of Lawrence Adube of the Baguio City Barangay Coordinationg Office to look and investigate the perverse actuations of the lupon Tagapamayapa including the Punong Barangay of Padre Zamora Barangay.

I happened to be one of the observers during a recent hearing of barangay cases at Padre Zamora. It was a disgust to witness this hearing as some officials like PB Gloria Basingan and a certain Kagawad Anos didn’t observe proper behavior and good manners.

Worst, they showed partisanship instead of being fair mediators. There was even an instance wherein Basingan nearly tore a pertinent document in front of the parties to show that the document was useless.

She asserted her belief that oral arguments weremore powerful, authentic and reliable than documents of proof! This intelligent PB and kagawad even threatened the other party while trying to invoke the other party to do drastic and illegal acts. There should be a court order or any court intervention so that these barangay officials would not court parties at odds from committing illegal acts.

The paying of filing fee for P100 per case is also an issue these barangay officials should explain. Is this legal or illegal and how about sending summons indicating the time, but the actual time when the litigation started was too late?

All parties arrived at 2 p.m. but the hearing only started at 4 p.m. I think the APT tag for the Lupong Tagapamayapa Barangay Padre Zamora should be Lupong Tagamamaya na. Be posted because I will be printing more about Barangay Padre Zamora and its officials.

Concerned residents of Camp 6 Tuba, Benguet called my attention regarding the rampant use of explosives particularly dynamites by pocket miners operating within the mountain slope near the Poblacion area. The residents cannot live and sleep peacefully because of the effects of explosives used by the pocket miners. They are now living in fear especially with the onset of the rainy season. They are afraid these activities would start massive landslides and will bury them alive.

Attention Barangay Captain of Camp 6 and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Please investigate this complaint and if possible, institute appropriate sanctions against these miners and persons behind this activity if they are operating illegally.

The fruit game machine or “colalong” I earlier exposed in this column found along Legarda Road , beside EJ’s Disco Bar is still on the upswing. More disturbing are those minors inside the bar smoking and drinking in the late hours at night.

Can’t our authorities do something to have this bar closed? Or the owner, a certain “Eugene” is really malakas? How about it Mayor Peter Rey Bautista and Councilor Galo Weygan? Pakibusisi niyo naman mga Sir, at kung puwede ipasara niyo na, please…


Cordillera, Ilocos poll winners bared

>> Sunday, May 20, 2007

Incumbents lead despite upsets, ballot snatching

BAGUIO CITY -- Election winners in the Cordillera were bared by the Commission on Elections and other poll quick count groups.

In Baguio City
The Comelec released official final results: Incumbent Rep. Mauricio Domogan won over councilor Jose “Jomol” Molintas garnering 47,477 votes to the latter’s 37,865 votes for the congressional seat.

For mayor, Reinaldo “Peter Rey” Bautista bested other candidates with 26,910 votes. Those who vied for the mayorship but lost were Leonardo Yangot with 17,647 votes; Braulio Yaranon, 16,148; Bernardo Vergara, 14,441, Elmo Nevada, 5,903 and Jun Labo with 3, 285 votes.

For vice mayor Daniel Farinas won with 21,709 votes. Those who vied for the position t were Faustino Olowan with 20,416 votes; Bobby Ortega, 18,738; Edilberto Tenefrancia, 15,029; Elmer Datuin, 8,989 and Mascarinas with 544 votes.

Those who made it as councilors were Rocky Balisong, 42,159; Betty Lourdes Tabanda, 39,675; Galo Weygan, 39,087; Pinky Rondez, 38,233, Nicasio Aliping Jr., 37,284; Antonio Tabora Jr., 34,799; Erdolfo Balajadia, 31,770; Vic Palaganas,30,224; Isabelo Cosalan Jr., 29,295, Richard Carino, 28,741, Fred Bagbagen, 26,465 and Elaine Sembrano with 25,773.

In Benguet
Re-electionist Rep. Samuel Dangwa will continue to serve the province after defeating his challenger, former congressman Ronald Cosalan while La Trinidad Mayor Nestor Fongwan emerged as the next provincial governor.

Based on official results released by the Commission on Elections last week, Dangwa garnered a total vote count of 66,710 against Cosalan’s 56,351 votes.

Fongwan got a total of 55,802 votes while incumbent governor Borromeo Melchor got 46,758 votes. Crescensio Pacalso remains as the Vice governor with 65,590 as against Wasing Sacla’s 50,211 votes.

For board members, re-electionists dominated the slate for the 10 –member body.

In District I, No. 1 to 3 slots were captured by reelectionists Juan Nazaro, Eddie Amuasen , Marciano Inso, while the No. 4 slot was taken by new comer Alfonso Fianza.

In District II, Kapangan Mayor Rogelio Leon topped the race for board members, followed by new comer Nelson Dangwa, reelectionist Apolinario Camsol, followed by Nardo Cayat, a new comer, Johnny Uy also a reelectionist and Florence Tingbaoen, also a new comer.

Winning candidates were proclaimed last Friday by the Provincial Board of Canvassers.

The winning mayors and Vice-mayors of Benguet are as follows: Atok, Concepcion Balao and Adam Bodong; Bakun, Marcelo Contada; Bokod, Mauricio Macay and Thomas Wales Jr.; Buguias, Felicio Bayacsan and Melchor Diclas;Kabayan, Faustino Aquisan and Rimando Aguitay; Kapangan, Roberto Canuto and Lauro Lorenzo; Kibungan, Benito Siadto and Susan Atayoc; Itogon, Mario Godio and Noel Ngolab; La Trinidad, Artemio Galwan and Samuel Esguerra; Mankayan, Manalo Galuten and Paterno Dacanay; Sablan, Bony Tacio and Julio Gayaman; Tuba, Florencio Bentrez and Valentino Carantes; Tublay, Ruben Paoad and Armando Lauro.

In Mountain Province
The province has another three years of political leadership with incumbent 30-year congressman Victor Dominguez who won over his nephew, mayor Jupiter Dominguez by 5,609 votes and his relative, Engr Arnulfo Pilando by 9,158 votes in the recent May 14 elections. All three candidates come from the municipality of Sabangan .

Based from records of the Commission on Elections, septuagenarian Victor Dominguez heavily scored in the towns of vote-rich Bauko, the capital town of Bontoc, Barlig and Natonin with total votes of 23,230.

Jupiter Dominguez gained the highest votes in the tourist of Sagada, Besao, and from his hometown in Sabangan with total votes of 17,621.

Pilando gained the highest votes in Paracelis with total votes of 14,072.

Congressional aspirant former governor Sario Malinias managed to get a sizable vote from his hometown in Bauko.

Mountain Province has total of 86,106 voters with 65,609 who cast their votes in the recent elections.

Other congressional aspirants are Independent candidates Efren Lingwa, Carlito Afadchay and Francisco Siblawan.

For the governorship, incumbent board member Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr nearly snatched votes from incumbent governor Maximo Dalog who won by 3,767 votes.

Both candidates come from the municipality of Bauko . Lacwasan edged close to Dalog with a small difference of 69 votes in Sagada, 366 in Besao, and 285 in Bontoc while gaining highest in his hometown in Bauko, Sabangan and Barlig. Dalog however led in Paracelis by 3089 votes.

Independent governatorial candidate Harry Dominguez edged close in Tadian where he hails from the other governatorial candidates.

For the vice-governorship, former mayor Louis Claver ran away with 35,209 votes over incumbent vice governor Dr Benjamin Dominguez who got 22,287 votes.

The lucky four board members of District 1 covering the towns of Bontoc, Sadanga, Barlig, Natonin and Paracelis are widow Eufemia Lamen who replaced her husband deceased Binky Lamen, incumbent board members Ezra Gomez from Bontoc and Luke Wanason from Paracelis, and Carino Tamang also from Paracelis.

Fifteen candidates ran for the board membership in District 1, Mountain Province

Winning board members of District 11 covering the towns of Besao, Sagada, Bauko, Tadian are government personnel retiree James Polilin from Besao, incumbent board member Marcial Lawilao from Sabangan, Salvador Dalang and incumbent councilor Randolph Awisan from Bauko.

Meantime, three incumbent mayors of this province retained their seats while four lost over their mayoral rivals.

Mayors Simon Lacwasan of Bauko, Cesar Rafael of Paracelis, and Constito Masweng of Tadian retained their positions.

In the eastern front, lawyer Ana Marie Bana-ag, daughter of Paracelis mayor Cesar Rafael won over incumbent mayor Patrick Banguingan of Natonin.

Incumbent vice mayor Magdalena Lupoyon won over incumbent mayor Crispin Fias-ilon for the mayorship in Barlig and six other candidates for the local executive position.

Incumbent mayor Bart Guzman of Besao lost to government personnel retiree Wellington Pooten.

In Sadanga, comebacking mayor Estanislao Fagto won over incumbent mayor Gabino Ganggangan and four other mayoral candidates.

In Sabangan, incumbent vice mayor Donato Danglose won over three other candidates for the mayoral position, while incumbent vice mayor Franklin Odsey also won as mayor in the capital town of Bontoc over comebacking candidate for mayor David Yawan. Engr Eduardo Latawan won as mayor in the tourist town of Sagada over incumbent councilor Dave Gulian.

Meantime, top 15 winning senators in this province are Loren Legarda (27,650 votes), Edgardo Angara (26,098), Panfilo Lacson (23,000), Prospero Pichay (22,136), Francis Joseph EScudero (20,530), Manuel Villar (20,282), Francis Pangilinan (20,188), Joker Arroyo (18,464), Luis Singson (17,633), Vincent Magsaysay (17,039), Benigno Aquino, (16,564), Gregorio Honasan (15,508), Michael Defensor (15,538), Aquilino Pimentel (15,236), and Antonio Trillanes( 14,978).

Meanwhile, reports from the Philippine National Police revealed five motor cycle- riding unidentified armed men forcibly snatched ballot boxes and election returns in two precints 37 and 37 B of sitio Katao of Buringal, Paracelis and sitio Paradi also of Buringal, Paracelis on election day.

In Apayao
Many incumbent candidates in the province won the last elections for being unopposed.

Department of Interior and Local Government provincial director Cresencio Calina said Elias Bulut Jr. remains the congressman of Apayao which has 54,761 registered voters. He garnered 31,731 votes.

His father, seasoned politician Elias Bulut Sr., also ran unopposed for governor while Hector Pascua, a former provincial board member, won over his three opponents as vice governor.

Some 29,909 voters cast their votes for Bulut Sr. for his second term as governor while Pascua got 17,018 votes.

In the town of Calanasan , its 6,542 registered voters allowed incumbent mayor Eleanor Bagtang and vice mayor Perfecto Marrero to finish their last terms.

Their hold to their positions was affirmed by the 3,731 and 3,876 votes they garnered, respectively.

No one of the 5,475 voters of Sta. Marcela also challenged incumbent Mayor Evelyn Martinez and Vice Mayor Domingo Siluran Jr. who garnered 3,828 and 3,689 votes, respectively.

Bienvenido Verzola Jr., with 4,930 votes, emerged as the new local chief executive of Luna replacing his wife Betty, who was the town’s chief of executive the last nine years.
Incumbent vice mayor Jovencio Bullawit, with 3,651 votes, retained his post. Luna has 9,131 registered voters.

Brothers Efren and Richard De San Jose of Flora won the seat for mayor and vice mayor with a total of 4,476 and 2771 votes, respectively.

Their votes were out of the 6,688 registered voters in the municipality.

Garnering a total of 3,563 and 4,160 votes, respectively, incumbent mayor Reynald Talimbatug and vice mayor Joseph Amid also remain as the people’s choice to lead the capital town of Kabugao which has 8,724 registered voters.

In Pudtol town with 5,634 voters, incumbent Mayor Batara Laoat and vice mayor Cleofil Collado who earned 1,805 and 2,358, respectively, also retained their post.

In Conner, incumbent Vice Gov. Paul Delwasen with 1,805 votes won over his lone opponent for the mayoralty seat. So is incumbent Vice Mayor Leonardo Dangoy with 4,564 votes.

“Hopefully, this kind of political patronage would further enhance the development of the entire province.” Calina said.

In Ifugao
Rep. Solomon Chungalao (Lakas-NUCD) won his third and last term as congressional district with convincing victory over his two rivals, John Wesley Dulawan and lawyer Placido Wachayna.

In the Namfrel Quick Count, Chungalao won in all the 11 municipalities of this province, including Kiangan, the hometown of Dulawan. He had an unofficial lead of some 20,000 votes over second placer Dulawan.

In the Namfrel unofficial tally also, the gubernatorial race showed former Gov. Teddy Baguilat ahead of incumbent Gov. Glenn Prudencio with a 2,200 vote margin. – With reports from Gina Dizon, Francis Martin and Mari Cruz


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