And so the races unofficially begin in Baguio and Benguet as some of the top guns have started filing their certificate of candidacy with the Commission on Elections for the May 9, 2022 election.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong was the first bigwig to file his CoC and end all speculations that he will run for a national position by instead sought re-election when he came in early today accompanied by four of his aspiring councilors.
“It will be definitely not a national position,” he said last September 22 during the Ugnayan at the Baguio City Hall which he reiterated Monday during a visit at the former Irisan dump site, now an eco-park.
He came in with incumbent and third term seeking Lilia Farinas and three hopefuls who sought the same office in 2016 – Pamela Carino Bomogao, his staff Marlyn de Castro and retired United States Marine Christian Villareal.
Magalong is the first to file among those who seek higher offices as Comelec expects some top bets in the next days until the end of filing on Friday, October 8.
Tomorrow, Rep. Mark Go will file his CoC for his third and final term with of course incumbent vice mayor Faustino Olowan.
He will be followed by former mayor and congressman Mauricio Domogan on Thursday, the seventh with six or seven of his stalwarts, formerly the once formidable Timpuyog ti Baguio.
On Friday, the eighth, former Rep. Nicasio Aliping, Jr. may finalize the rumored AliDom alliance (Aliping-Domogan) when he files his CoC.
Aliping could be the biggest threat to Go’s third term seeking bid even as he admitted that he acceded to the request of Domogan that they instead unite now and not run for the same position. Aliping was eyeing a bid for mayor but was persuaded by the city’s former top politico who was in office for 27 years for the top two positions.
He was first elected as a councilor in 1988 and won his bid for vice mayor in the 1992 election but was elevated as mayor when Ramon Labo was ousted due to citizenship issue. Labo was also elected mayor in 1988 but was forced out of office on the same reason and the late Jaime Bugnosen assuming the top City Hall post.
Also on Friday, the Isko Moreno backing Edison Bilog, a former vice mayor, will file his CoC with his aspiring councilors.
Comelec Baguio head John Paul Martin has not posted on the Comelec media Facebook chat group when former Youth Rep. Edgar Avila.
As it stands, it will be Magalong against Domogan and Bilog and the little known Jeffrey Pinic, who again filed his candidacy.
Go will expectedly go against Aliping and former city council legislative staff Labio Calingayan.
Aside from Olowan, barangay council chair Michael Lawana is also seeking the same post after filing his candidacy last October 1. Lawana is challenging again Olowan, who beat him handily in the last election.
Councilor Elayne Sembrano is expected to throw her hat for the same position under expectedly the Domogan group.
For Benguet, incumbent La Trinidad mayor Romeo Salda led his party of 10 under the United Benguet Party in filing their CoC at the Comelec regional office.
Salda is with vice mayor Roderick Awingan and eight of his councilor aspirants led by incumbents John Botiwey, Francis Lee as well as Jayson Dangwa, Belmer Elis, Bartolome Baldas, Tyrone Diaz and Guller Galwan.
ACT Rep. and Benguet caretaker congressman Eric Yap has also filed his candidacy and will go up against Itogon mayor Victorio Palangdan, who filed his candidacy last October 1.