Politicians marked in red join Baguio Magalong Mayor’s ‘Good Governance Team’ list

Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who is seeking a second term, says the members of his inclusive list were chosen ‘based on their strengths’.

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Two mayoral candidates who have fallen victim to red labeling in recent years are on the shortlist for Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who is seeking a second term in May.

Human rights lawyer José Molintas and councilor Arthur Allad-iw, a former journalist, were among those on stage at the March 27 rally to proclaim the Magalong Good Governance Team. Both are members of the Liberal Party (LP).

At a March 25 press conference, the start of the local campaign period, Magalong explained that he has made his team inclusive and selected members based on their strengths. His group includes candidates from the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nationalist Party and Liberal Party, as well as independent candidates. He said their belief in good governance brought them together.

Molintas, one of eight candidates who faced Magalong for the mayoral seat in 2019, is running for councilor. He highlighted Magalong’s anti-corruption campaign and the effort to reach all sectors of the city, including activist groups.

Magalong said of Molintas: “When it comes to advocacy for good governance, for truth, for human rights, which is a strong central pillar of good governance, he is there…. That’s the reason why when I learned that he is looking for a party he can probably join even though he is affiliated with another party, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. [to tell him] to join us.”

Allad-iw, who is seeking a third term as city legislator, said the mayor is quick to address issues about the rights and well-being of Baguio residents. He added that while they sometimes have divergent positions on issues in the city council, this “has failed to diminish working relationships for the betterment of Baguio.”

Like Allad-iw and Molintas, Magalong is a victim of red-tagging.

NTF-ELCAC spokeswoman and Undersecretary of the Office of Presidential Communications Operations, Lorraine Badoy, recently accused the retired police general of harboring communist front groups when he ordered the removal of tarpaulins identifying groups and personalities in his city. . The mayor reminded Badoy to verify the facts and observe due process before making such baseless accusations.

rights defenders

Molintas is a member of the Free Legal Assistance Group and served as a councilor from 2004 to 2007. The former Asia Representative for the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples also chaired the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) from 1995 to 1997.

In March 2018, the Justice Department included him among 649 individuals named in the ban petition to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to be terrorist groups. The Manila court that reviewed the petition ordered the removal of the names of Molintas and four other high-profile personalities from the list.

Allad-iw served as national vice president of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) from 2004 to 2006. He was an editorial consultant and columnist for Northern Dispatch (Nordis) before trying his luck in politics in 2010.

In 2018, an anonymous letter calling him a CPP-NPA sympathizer was sent to the mayor’s office after he sponsored a resolution asking the government to remove the names of Baguio City residents from the DOJ’s terrorism ban petition.

He was rebranded online in 2020 for his decision to remove popular organizations accused of being communist rebel fronts from the resolution declaring the CPP-NPA-NDFP undesirable in the city. It happened again in 2021 after he wrote a resolution supporting the bill introduced by Senator Franklin Drilon to criminalize redtagging. – Rappler. with

Sherwin de Vera is a Luzon-based journalist and an Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship awardee.

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