Big names battle it out in Cordillera

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BAGUIO CITY  – The battle for the key positions in the Cordillera for the upcoming May 9, 2022 synchronized national and local elections will be among big names in the political arena.

In the city, the congressional race will be a one-on-one showdown between incumbent Rep. Mark Go and former Rep. Nicasio M. Aliping, Jr. while the mayoralty race will be a 3 way toss-up among incumbent Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong, former Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan and former Vice Mayor Edison R. Bilog.

The city’s vice mayoralty contest will be among incumbent Vice Mayor Faustino A. Olowan, graduating Councilors Joel Alangsab and Elaine Sembrano and incumbent Councilor and Liga ng mga Barangay (LMB) president Michael L. Lawana.

The congressional race in Benguet will also be another interesting race among Benguet caretaker congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap, who is an adopted some of the province and the founder of the United Benguet Party, Itogon Mayor Victorio T. Palangdan, who heads the Independent Benguet Party, former Gov. Crescencio C. Pacalso, who is the standard-bearer of the One Benguet Alliance, lawyer Thorrsson Keith and lawyer Samson Paran.

Incumbent Benguet Gov. Melchor D. Diclas will be challenged by 3-term boardmember Roberto Namoro, former Vice Gov. Nelson Dangwa and lawyer Jerry Marave while the vice gubernatorial post will be contested by incumbent Vice Gov. Johnny Waguis, 3-term boardmember Jim Botiwey and former Tublay Sangguniang Kabataan president and Councilor Ericson Felipe.

In Mountain Province, the lone congressional district will be a one-on-one tossup between incumbent Rep. Maximo Dalog, Jr. and former Sabangan Mayor Jupiter Dominguez while the province’s gubernatorial post will be a virtual victory for incumbent Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. who seems to have a token resistance from a certain Albert Paday-os.

For the vice gubernatorial post, incumbent Vice Gov. Francis Tauli will be up for an uphill battle against three term Bauko Mayor Abraham B. Akilit and boardmember Andre Claver. Tauli belongs to the PDP-Laban Cusi wing while Akilit will be under the Nationalista Party (NP) of the Villar family.

Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Magaoang seems to be unopposed for his third term as the province’s lone congressional post while the gubernatorial post will be a return bout between incumbent Gov. Ferdinand Tubban and former Vice Gov. James Edubba. During the May 2019 mid-term elections, Edubba lost to Tubban by a slim margin of 10 votes which is now the subject of an election protest and recount before the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

The Kalinga vice gubernatorial post will be an interesting battle between incumbent Vice Gov. Dave Odiem and former Gov. Jocel Baac.

In Tabuk City, the only component city in the Cordillera, the mayoralty post will be contested by incumbent Mayor Darwin C. Estrañero, suspended Vice Mayor Bernard Glen Daoas former punong barangay Junjun Balangao, Josephine Odsey and Dra. Jocelyn Omengan while the vice mayoralty post will be only contested by Councilors Zoraida Wacnang, Henry Tubban and Dick Bal-o.

However, voters in the different provinces are still awaiting the final list of candidates as the same can still change with the existence of the substitution period until November 15, 2021.

The filing of the required certificates of candidacy (COC) by the aspirants for the different elected positions ended last Friday, October 8, 2021.

In Ifugao, incumbent Rep. Solomon Chungalao will be staking his post against former Gov. Eugene Balitang and 3 term Lamut Mayor Mariano Buyagawan while incumbent Gov. Jerry Dalipog seems to have a walk in the park for his re-election bid as no one is inclined to challenge him.

On the other hand, the Valera and Bernos families are expected to sustain their dynasty in Abra with incumbent Rep. Joseph Sto. Niño Bernos is expected to retain his seat while Gov. Maria Jocelyn Velera Bernos, who happens to be his sister-in-law, will slide down to the position of vice governor to pave the way for the aspiration of his father, incumbent Bangued Mayor Dominique Valera to become the father of the province.

Valera’s wife Mila will seek election to be the mayor of the capital town of Bangued while their grandson, incumbent Councilor Joaquin Enrico Bernos, son of Gov. Bernos, will be aspiring for the town’s vice mayoralty post.

Gov. Bernos’s brother-in-law, Jay Dominador Go, is also seeking the mayoralty post of Bucay town while her sister-in-law, Denise Florence Bernos-Bragas, is seeking re-election as mayor of Danglas town and her mother-in-law Esther Bernos also wants to be re-elected for vice mayor of the said municipality.

The wife of Rep. Bernos, Menchie Bernos, is seeking re-election as mayor of La Paz town.

However, the Luna family, one of the political families in the province, also fielded their respective candidates to challenge the members of the Valera and Bernos families.

Former Lagayan Mayor Jentrix Luna will challenge Dominique Valera for the gubernatorial post while his brother Ryan will challenge Dominique’s wife Mila for the mayoralty post of Bangued town.  By HENT