Incumbents, old names dominate Cordillera politics

BAGUIO CITY  – Incumbent local officials and returning politicians continue to dominate the political arena in the different parts of the Cordillera following the end of the filing of their certificates of candidacy (COCs) for their desired positions in the upcoming May 2019 mid-term elections

The conduct of elections will simply just be a formality in Apayao as Apayao Gov. Elias C. Bulut, Jr., who filed his COC for representative of the lone district of the province, Apayao Rep. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang, who filled her COC for Provincial governor and Vice governor Remy Albano, who is seeking re-election, will be unchallenged for their desired posts.

In Abra, incumbent Rep. Joseph Sto. Niño Bernos will be challenged by Vicky Luna-Corpuz and Derdae Luna-Iforong, incumbent Gov. Maria Jocelyn Valera-Bernos will also be facing stiff opposition from Dolores Mayor Victor Seares and Jun Seares while incumbent Vice governor Ronald Balao-as will be facing boardmember Ana Marie Bersamin.

The congressional post in Baguio City will boil down to a 4cornered toss up among incumbent Rep. Mark Go, incumbent Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, former Rep. Nicasio M. Aliping, Jr. and former Mayor Reinaldo A. Bautista, Jr. with Rafael Wasan as an additional aspirant for the post. The city’s mayoralty race will be a free for all among incumbent Vice Mayor Edison Bilog, incumbent Councilors Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. and Edgar Avila, retired PNP Deputy Director-General Benjamin Magalong, former Councilor and Vice Mayor Antonio Tabora and human rights lawyer Jose M. Milintas while the similarly situated vice mayoralty race will be contested by incumbent councilors Faustino Olowan, Peter Fianza, Michael Lawana and Elmer Datuin as well as lawyer Rene Cortes.

In Bneuget, the congressional seat will be hotly contested by former Gov. Nestor B. Fongwan, incumbent Mankayan Mayor Materno Luspian and Atty. Thorrsson Keith while the gobernatorial post will be a 3-way fight between incumbent Gov. Crescencio Pacalso, former Buguias Mayor Melchor Diclas and Alexander Tadina, a non-government organization (NGO) worker. The position of Vice Governor will be a head on battled between incumbent Vice Governor Florence Tingbaoen and graduating Boardmember Johnny Waguis.

The lone congressional seat of Ifugao which will be vacated will also be hotly contested by former Kiangan Mayor Jonathan Cuyahon, incumbent Gov. Pedro Mayam-o, former Land Transportation Office (LTO) Officer Timmy Mondeguing, former Rep. Solomon Chungalao and former Gov. Eugene Balitang. The gubernatorial post will be a 3-way fight between incumbent Rep. Teodoro Bauilat, Jr., incumbent Vice governor Jordan Gollitiw and incumbent Banaue Mayor Jerry Dalipog while it will be a similar situation in the race for vice governor among boardmembers Ricky Dulnuan, Jun Bunnol and incumbent Alfonso Lista Mayor Glen Prudenciano.

The Kalinga congressional race will be a head on battle between incumbent Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang and incumbent Gov. Jocel C. Baac, the gubernatorial post will be contested by incumbent Vice governor James Edubba, incumbent Tabuk City Mayor Ferdinand Tubban, Conrado Dieza and Loreto Banusan while the vice gobernatorial race will be between Boardmembers Dancel Langkit and David Odeim. The mayoralty post of Tabuk City will be an open race among Daniel Estrañero, Junjun Balangao, Ronald Obar and Iem Banasan.

The political landscape in Mountain Province became interesting in the upcoming May 2019 mid-term elections as there are now a good number of qualified aspirants for the two highest positions in the local level.

The Mountain Province congressional seat will be an open race among incumbent Paracelis Mayor Avelino Amangyen, Atty. Maximo Dalog, Jr., former Sabangan Mayor Jupiter Dominguez, Jonathan Harder, former Mountain Province Police Director Senior Superintendent Allen Sumeg-ang Ocden, Albert Paday-os and incumbent Tadian Mayor Anthony Wooden.

On the other hand, the gubernatorial post will also be contested by incumbent governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr., Natonin Mayor Mateo Chiyawan, perennial candidate Harry Dominguez, a certain Antonio Grupo, Jr., Eduardo Latawan, Jr. and Magine Casionan Limliman while it will be a 3-way toss up in the vice gubernatorial race among incumbent vice governor Francis Tauli, incumbent Mayor Raul Lapon and former boardmember Ezra Gomez.

Under existing rules and regulations, candidates of political parties can still avail of the withdrawal and substitution if they so desire until November 29, 2018 before the final list of candidates will be printed on the official ballots for the upcoming automated elections.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) recently fixed the election period for the May 2019 mid-term elections which will be from January 13 to June 12, 2019.

Political analysts in the region claimed that the interesting political battles will be in Mountain Province, Baguio City, Ifugao and Kalinga while they view the politics in Benguet and Abra to be dull if there are no substitutions that will be undertaken to the ones that filed their COCs after the prescribed deadline for substitution of candidates with political parties.

By HENT

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