Baguio, did Domogan sell your city to buy your votes?

Copy of budget proposal. Photo by Grace Bandoy
A visit to Baguio will show you that the City of Pines has lost its charm. And it's easy to see why. Mayor Mauricio Domogan has sold the city's soul to the highest bidder - one of them is Henry Sy of SM.

When concerned residents of Baguio were up in arms against SM's plan to cut/earth-ball more than a hundred pine trees to give way for the construction of a parking lot, Mayor Domogan was  their only chance to have the proposal blocked after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) indicated it was outside their mandate given that the concerned trees were on a private property.

But they were told not to hold their hopes high. The Mayor has been paid Sixty Million Pesos (PhP 60,000,000) to approve the project, they alleged.
Back then, I was skeptical. Sixty Million for a single project? That's too much.

Then the other day, I got a copy of a complaint (full copy below) submitted by Ms. Grace Bandoy to the Commission on Elections. Part of the evidence Ms. Bandoy submitted was a copy of a budget proposal (photo above, click to enlarge) submitted by a certain Thomas Dumalti, the Barangay Chairman of Barangay Irisan, Baguio City. For almost half  a million pesos, Chairman Dumalti will employ himself and five of his Kagawads to campaign for the candidates of the Timpuyog ti Baguio, namely incumbent mayor Mauricio Domogan and Congressman Bernardo Vergara. The proposal covers other expenses such as rentals for headquarters, electricity, snacks for rally attendees, as well as budget for cell phone load, water, snacks at the headquarters, rice allowance, and  even Gasul or cooking gas!

And take note, this is just a budget for one barangay. Baguio City has 129 barangays, so assuming they each submitted the same budget, the Mayor would have to spend more than PhP 60,500,000! If it is true that he was paid 60 Million before, then it's not even enough. And he still has to spend for his own campaign activities, print his posters, etc. No wonder they say Philippine election is very expensive.

It is worth noting that barangay officials are supposed to be non-partisan. And yet, here you have one barangay chairman and five kagawads who will be paid a daily rate by the mayor. And the barangay tanods will be paid "to safeguard, help monitor Timpuyog posters day and night." I don't think this is the definition of non-partisan.

But Grace Bandoy also alleges that the Mayor is guilty of other election offenses. Ms. Bandoy was also active in the campaign against the cutting of trees by SM, a campaign she has entered on her personal capacity and as a concerned resident of Baguio City. She has received numerous threats because of all of this, and yet here she is, continuing the fight.

Below is the summary of the other violation offenses contained in Ms. Bandoy's complaint. The details can be found in the complaint letter below.

1. Vote Buying - Mayor Domogan gave out PhP 7,000 allowance to his scholars during the campaign period;

2. Vote Buying and Selling - Barangay Captain Thomas Dumalti admitting he received money from Timpuyog ti Baguio, and subsequently issuing a manifesto of support to the party together with other barangay officials;

3. Illegal use of government facility as campaign headquarters, as prohibited by Section 261 (0) of the Omnibus Election Code

4. Intervention of Government Officer and Employees, with the use of barangay tanods in the campaign

Here's a copy of the complaint:

To the camp of Mayor Domogan, you are welcome to send you comments to this article.

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas,
At naniniwala sa galing ng Pilipino,

Froilan Grate | GreenMinds  

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