INC endorses Baguio-Benguet incumbent bets

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The anticipated candidate-list of the vote-rich Iglesia ni Cristo include incumbents Nicasio Aliping Jr from the Liberal Party for Congress, Mauricio Domogan from the United Nationalist Alliance for mayor, and Edison Bilog for vice mayor under the Nationalist People's Coalition.

Mayoral bet Jose Mencio Molintas said he was hoping for the endorsement of the religious group but respects the decision of the organization.

Although said to be a tight-locked bloc vote, Molintas doubts the votes now will be rock solid.

"It will be a choice now between religion and conviction, between religion and livelihood," added Molintas.

Molintas said the issue surrounding the vendors' groups, market concerns, as well as garbage problems in the city may weigh heavier than orders of a group for power.

"I doubt that all of the people will follow," Molintas laments.

Sun.Star Baguio tried to get the side of mayoral bet Del Claravall but his campaign manager Eric Picart said no statement will be given for the recent endorsement.

Based on a document gathered by Sun.Star Baguio, the religious group's choices for local council include Joel Alangsab, Arthur Allad-iw, Edgar Avila, Elemer Datuin, Lilia Farinas, Peter Fianza, Faustino Olowan, Jun Orca, Roberto Ortega, Elaine Sembrano, Leandro Yangot, and Mylen Yaranon.

Sun.Star Baguio tried but failed to get the statements of Mark Go as well as the camp of Bernardo Vergara who are both running for congress.

In Benguet, the group has reputedly endorsed Crecensio Pacalso for governor, Florence Tingbaoen for vice-governor, and Ronald Cosalan for congressman.

The province is gearing for the battle between incumbent governor Nestor Fongwan and Cosalan for the congressional race billed to be one of the most exciting turnouts in the history of the province.

For the gubernatorial race, Pacalso is pitted against Melchor Diclas, Jack Dulnuan, Oscar Camantiles, and Nelson Dangwa, while for vice governor Tingbaoen faces Connie Balao and Faustino Aquisan.

The Iglesia list for national bets shows Rodrigo Duterte for president and Bongbong Marcos for vice president.

The religious group also endorsed the Agri party list as well as a complete slate for senators which include Vicente Sotto, Frank Drilon, Manny Pacquiao, Joel Villanueva, Dick Gordon, Risa Hontiveros, Win Gatchalian, Francis Tolentino, Migz Zubiri, Ping Lacson, and Martin Romualdez. – Rappler.com

This article is republished under Rappler's content sharing agreement with the SunStar network in the coverage of the 2016 national and local elections.