February 1, 2023

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said his camp is studying legal actions against people who accused him of being a traitor for allegedly colluding with the rebels.
Magalong took exception to the allegations of former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) spokesperson Lorraine Badoy, a certain Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz, and Kingdom of Jesus Christ Pastor Apollo Quiboloy that he has links with the News Peoples’ Army rebels.
In a statement posted in his Facebook account, Magalong expressed disappointment over the claims he is a traitor and a person of no principles, which were made during a segment aired over the Quiboloy-backed television network SMNI.
“This tirade against me is unfounded and baseless and has subjected my person to needless and undeserved condemnation,” Magalong stated in the post.
Badoy accused the mayor of having ties with NPA rebels, referring to his previous orders for the local police to take down posters that tag activists as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines/NPA and those that declare the latter as persona non grata in the city.
Magalong said as the city’s chief executive, it is his duty to safeguard “our young constituents from being subjected to unnecessary vilification by striving to ensure that our youth activists – not communists – in Baguio are safe from persecution and harassment.
“Youthful activism does not necessarily mean espousing a communist ideology,” he said.
Magalong said the accusations were insulting for someone who had been at the forefront of the battle against the rebels.
“To be accused that I have turned my back on my lifelong commitment against the CPP/NPA is a grave insult that sweeps aside my lengthy and loyal service to the Philippines. I staked my life fighting the CPP/NPA, leading my men not from the rear but up front in numerous operations,” he said.
Magalong said he cannot just turn around and abandon his stand against insurgency and his support to the NTF-Elcac remains.
“I was the chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council as well as vice chair of the Cordillera RTF-Elcac from 2019 to 2022. During my tenure, I have fully supported, without any mental reservation, the programs of the NTF-Elcac. Through our collective efforts, the program continues to succeed in the Cordillera, notably with stronger support from the local communities and better perception from the public.”
“If my actions as head of a local government are under question, let due process be sternly observed. By all means, take the necessary steps that I be sanctioned, in accordance with procedures in place, without having to be publicly scorned over a non-issue,” he added.
To those who continue to defame people without evidence, Magalong warned: “No one is above the law.” – Jane B. Cadalig