By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas
Just a few candidates have filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) yet. So we will just dwell on the few who did. Of note in Mountain Province is the candidacy of Mateo Chiyawan for governor. He is the incumbent mayor of his town. As far as I know, the people of Natonin and Paracelis are of the same breed or tribe. And to a certain extent they share some cultural traits with those in the nearby town of Barlig whose unspoiled environs made then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to describe it as the Shangrila of this side of the country. All these towns are generally referred to as the eastern towns of the province. If Chiyawan can relatively solidify the votes there, he would be the man to beat for the governorship.
Of course some say that it is actually difficult to unite the people in those towns, but this might be the time to once and for all test this hypothesis.
Another prospective candidate for the same position is the past mayor of Sagada, Eduard Latawan. From what we heard, he is very prepared for the race. This means his war chest is well endowed. For the reality is, it is big money that makes the world go ‘round in Mountain Province during elections. This is the biggest disservice some past politicians have left as their legacy to the people there. Now, one has to spend hundreds of millions of pesos to have a fighting chance for the governorship or the congressional seat.
But we still have to see if he will file his COC for the race.
And then there is the incumbent governor, Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr. Is he prepared? That is the question. While his family had been in politics there for a long time, thus their political roots run deep, there is no substitute to a bulging pocket book. And he knew this all along. Also, he very well knew that depositing one’s money in the casino means that this could not be withdrawn in times of need. So he must be prepared.
With these three in the running, it can be said that the campaign will be interesting in that province. As to the race for congressman, we have to wait for those who will enter the race.
In Baguio City, Mark Go for congressman with Edison Bilog as his mayoralty candidate have already filed. On the other side of the fence are Nick Aliping and Jose Molintas (JoeMol). Mark Go and Bilog had been preparing for the race, but the same can be said of Aliping and Molintas. They are veterans and they might not have been depositing their money in the casino or in gambling dens. So there will be a lot of money going around. Thus, we have to say, we love elections.
Congressman Mark Go’s biggest secret and asset is his wife. As I have heard so many times, she is a very good campaigner. She must be a real commander-in-chief.
One thing that can be said of Aliping’s supporters is that they are fiercely loyal. He has a base to launch his candidacy on a good footing.
What is being awaited, however, in the city is the group of Mayor Mauricio Domogan. From the grapevine his mayoralty candidate would be Edgar Avila. If Domogan runs he must have been tossing the situation in his mind countless times. And he does not come up with spur of the moment decisions. He usually conducts actual surveys before casting his dice. A big factor if he files is what the people or his supporters want. If they are pushing for him to run, then he might run. Such decision would not be out of political addiction. He remains undefeated in his political career so he must be considering this. Will that record be kept, or will he take his chances. If he does, it will not be because of political addiction because that would be foolish of him.
A white horse in Baguio’s mayoralty race is Leandro Yangot. His people are touting that he is the man to beat. He must be the most prepared of the lot, having prepared the longest. He’s got the energy and he’s got the electoral base. For those who don’t want their votes to go to waste, deeply consider everything before casting your precious votes.
Don’t vote for those who are steeped in illegal activities.**