BAGUIO Mayor Benjamin Magalong has been red-tagged yet again by controversial preacher Apollo Quiboloy, former anti-communist task force spokesperson Lorraine Badoy-Partosa and self-proclaimed former communist rebel Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz, who red-tagged him on programs on Quiboloy’s SMNI network.
Magalong issued a statement expressing disappointment over the baseless claims thrown against him for his protection of student activism, which he says discounts and does not consider his long career in service of the country, during which he fought against the communist insurgent elements on various assignments and arenas.
“This tirade against me is unfounded and baseless and has subjected my person to needless and undeserved condemnation,” Magalong said in his statement.
“As the Mayor of Baguio, I serve the city and its constituents to the best of my ability, competence, and with the same unflinching loyalty to the Republic of the Philippines. I am safeguarding 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 added.
Magalong also alluded to possible legal action in the statement, reminding Quiboloy and company that “no one is above the law.”
Police Colonel Francisco Bulwayan Jr., who currently heads the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) also issued a statement in support of Magalong, acknowledging his long history as part of the anti-insurgent operations in the country.
“The allegation questioning his credibility and loyalty to the country is considered baseless and unproven. The former Police General and now City Mayor of Baguio has gone far and wide to protect and serve the Philippines and its constituents, and his love and loyalty for our country will remain immeasurable without a stain of doubt,” Bulwayan wrote.
Former senator Panfilo Lacson has called out serial red-taggers Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey Celiz for their “bullying tactics” against Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong.
“(T)hese bullying tactics of Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey Celiz, as in the case of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, will likely not stop if not checked now,” said the retired police general in a January 18 statement.
“Not only that – such antics will threaten to undo the credible gains made against the insurgency. After Mayor Magalong, who’s next?” he added.
“SMNI and ELCAC—through Lorraine Badoy, Ka Eric, and Pastor Quiboloy—continue their smear campaign against Baguio City Mayor Magalong. They accuse Mayor Magalong as being “friends” with communist terrorist groups, arguing that his stance on youth activism as sympathizing with terrorists. He released an official statement in response to the accusations and argued that “youthful activism does not necessarily mean espousing a communist ideology,” goes a statement by the Kabataan Partylist – Cordillera.
“We welcome Mayor Magalong’s statement that youth activists should be protected from persecution and harassment. Since its establishment, SMNI and ELCAC have been continuously red-tagging, villainizing, and discrediting progressive organizations. Such spreading of fake news and disinformation further justifies our call to abolish ELCAC and shut down SMNI. Their existence and actions threaten the democratic integrity of our country,” KPC added.
In March 2022, Magalong was also red-tagged by Badoy-Partosa, who was then a spokesperson for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, over his order to remove posters in Baguio also accusing youth activists of being members of the CPP-NPA without proof.