By Nora Sorino
ILIGAN City––Fresh from the month-long city fiesta and tourism celebrations, another circus came. All leading to one destination: Comelec.
The yellow-clad candidates of the Liberal Party were the last to file. Vice Mayor Henry Dy with Rudy Marzo, filing as candidates for mayor and vice mayor, respectively, were there, of course. Rep. Vicente “Varf” Belmonte, running for a third term, came as tall as ever––physically and metaphorically. Also there were the councilors, mostly as “repeat performers” with a smattering of three or so.
Their “BDR” acronym––Belmonte, Dy and Rudy––was changed to BDM. The former, as one can see, brings back recent memories of a Ponzi scheme.
From hearing a morning mass at the Cathedral, they came to the Comelec via a longer route that wrought havoc on the traffic.
They were seen holding hands, magkahawak kamay, signifiying “walang iwanan.” (Most of the candidates are facing plunder charges in connection with the P54-million Sendong fund) With the “wangwang” as backgrounder, critics asked: “Whatever happened to PNoy’s “no wangwang” talk.
Not to be outdone, former mayor Franklin Quijano’s group, called “One Iligan” filed earlier (Oct. 4).
The day was doubly significant as it was Quijano’s birthday.
Dressed in blue, some of them wore slippers. Some were even in tatters. One has to remember Sendong and what the typhoon did to many lives and properties here.
Quijano is himself a Sendong survivor having sought higher grounds at the height of its fury in the darkness of a powerless night.
Quijano’s running mate is Engr. Benny Badelles, a former councilor. He’s the big boss at Imasco, a stevedoring company owned by the Badelleses.
Their congressional candidate is former prosecutor Samson “Sammy” Dajao.
For city councilors: Boy Altres, Marijo Abalos Labaro, Dr. Roger Pagarigan, Engr. Nonoy Hain, Dr. Charles Marquez, VerneJules Padilla, Dr. Levy Villarin, Lorenz Pendang, J. Buenaventura, Engr. Jun Ducay, Bien Mansumayan, Deal Benigrado (of the MSU-IIT Multi-Purpose Coop).
One blue-clad supporter who introduced himself as Art Maderazo reminded me of the three city hall employees who were convicted at the ombudsman’s office––meaning, the “One Iligan” does not condone corruption. “One Iligan” is not yet an accredited party, hence its candidates filed as “independents.”
Earlier, the Regencia group had its own gimmick, too, with supporters also accompanying them. Former police chief Celso Regencia was earlier quoted as saying that he wasn’t retiring for he was set to run for mayor.
Regencia is viewed by many as another Rodrigo Duterte––that is, if he succeeds in becoming city mayor.
His running mate is lawyer Leo Zaragoza who is also a Sendong survivor. Siempre, he has a harrowing tale to tell. Among Regencia’s candidates for councilors are lawyer Manny Salibay and Demosthenes Plando.
The other mayoral candidates are Joel Naga, retired MSU professor, and Datu Ismael Moreno. Moreno told me he was among the first to file like Gina Macapayag Cruz, the estranged wife of Mayor Lawrence Cruz.
Cruz is running for councilor, it was learned.
Another mayoral bet is Yuri Taongan, former mayor of Lugait. His supporter, Joe Booc, is reported to be running for congressman. His son is running for councilor under Taongan.
The names of other mayoral candidates escapes the writer as of the moment and so my apologies.
And, oh yes, Bernard “Tete” Pacaña is running for vice mayor, too. He filed at the Comelec with all the fanfare with his yellow-clad supporters bringing placards bearing his name.
Arnold Garbanzos of the Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corp. is running for councilor. Garbanzos earlier told residents his advocacy is how to make proper use of water springs of which the city has plenty of. There many who are not satisfied with the P490-million water project of the city.
Other “councilorables” are lawyers Voltaire Rovira and Demosthenes Plando. What group they belong escapes us, too, as of the moment. For those who were not mentioned, our apologies. Maybe next time…