Who is Benjamin Magalong

Benjamin Magalong

In this Philippine name, the middle name or maternal family name is Banez and the surname or paternal family name is Magalong.

The Honorable
Benjamin B. Magalong
Magalong in 2019
Mayor of Baguio
Incumbent
Assumed office
June 30, 2019
Vice MayorAtty. Faustino A. Olowan
Preceded byAtty. Mauricio G. Domogan
Deputy Chief of Operations, PNP

In office
July 1, 2016 - December 15, 2016
President Rodrigo Duterte
Preceded byPDDG. Danilo S. Constantino
Succeeded byPDDG. Ramon C. Apolinario
Chief, Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management

In office
July 11, 2015 - July 1, 2016
President Benigno Aquino III
Preceded byPDir. Francisco Don C. Montenegro
Succeeded byC / Supt. Augusto M. Marquez Jr.
Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group

In office
December 7, 2013 - July 11, 2015
President Benigno Aquino III
Preceded byFrancisco A. Uyami Jr.
Succeeded byC / Supt. Victor P. Deona
Regional Director, PRO-Cordillera

In office
October 29, 2011 - December 7, 2013
President Benigno Aquino III
Preceded byC / Supt. Villamor C. Bumanglag
Succeeded byC / Supt. Isagani R. Nerez
Personnel details
Born Benjamin Banez Magalong
December 15, 1960 (1960-12-15) (age 61)
Baguio City, Benguet, Philippines
Nationality Filipino
Political party Nationalist People's Coalition[1]
Spouse (s) Arlene Saneo-Magalong
Children 3
Alma mater Saint Louis University
Philippine Military Academy
FBI National Academy
Website http://www.benjiemagalong.com
Military service
Allegiance Philippines
Service / branch Philippine Constabulary

Benjamin "Benjie" Banez Magalong (born December 15, 1960) is a Filipino politician and former law-enforcement officer. A political neophyte, he is the incumbent Mayor of the City of Baguio.[2] He is a retired general of the Philippine National Police, with the rank of Director or Police Major General and had previously served as heads of the CIDG, DIDM and as Deputy Chief of Operations, respectively.

He is known for having led the PNP Inquiry and investigation of the botched 2015 Mamasapano Incident, which resulted in the death of 44 SAF troopers. Due to this, he was reportedly set aside from the selection of the next PNP Chief, having been widely known as a possible candidate for the post.

He is also a Presidential Lingkod Bayan awardee[3] and an Outstanding citizen of Baguio awardee.[4]

Early life and education [edit | edit source]

Benjie Magalong was born in Baguio City on December 15, 1960 to Severiano Magalong Sr. and Fortunata Banez of San Carlos City, Pangasinan.[5]

He spent his elementary days at Saint Louis University Laboratory Elementary School. He finished high school at what was then-Saint Louis Boys' High School (now Saint Louis University Laboratory High School).[6]

He entered Saint Louis University for one-year, before entering the Philippine Military Academy, where he graduated as Magna cum laude in 1982's Sandigan class.[6]

During his career, he graduated from the FBI National Academy. He also completed the Counter Terrorists Operation Course in Louisiana, USA, and the Senior Crisis Management Course in Washington, DC.[6]

Police career [edit | edit source]

Philippine Constabulary [edit | edit source]

Upon graduating in 1982, he joined the Philippine Constabulary and was assigned to its 62nd Battalion in Abra. During his stay there he was later promoted to the rank of Captain. He would later on be assigned to Agusan del Norte.

Philippine National Police [edit | edit source]

During the early days of the merger of the Philippine Constabulary and the Integrated National Police, Magalong would get to experience the CIDG for the first time. He later on described it as "not his world". He was transferred to the Special Action Force of the PNP of SAF, founded in 1983 by then Gen. (later President) Fidel V. Ramos of the PC.[7] From 1997 to 2001, he headed its Special Operations Battalion, which is PNP's counterterrorism group.[8]

2001 People Power [edit | edit source]

Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became president after President Joseph Estrada was removed from power. Magalong was later accused of plotting to assassinate the new president. Magalong described it as "a false charge; my name was used by some parties who wished to ingratiate themselves with the new administration."While he was under investigation, he was assigned to hazardous areas, to the Cordilleras in 2001 and back to Mindanao in 2003. It was only in March 2005 that he was absolved of the charges against him.[8][9]

2005 bicutane victories edit source]

On March 14, 2005, two weeks after Magalong was absolved of the assassination plot charges against him, inmates in the Camp Bagong Diwa were able to seize weapons from the guards. Magalong would lead the assault on the camp, with 64 other SAF troopers. It resulted in 27 dead inmates and the surviving inmates pleaded a massacre and human rights violation on the part of the SAF.[10][11] It was during this siege that Magalong almost died, evidenced by his kevlar helmet with two bullets embedded in it. He keeps it in his office as a reminder, saying "I keep it around, just to remind myself, tama na yung pa-warrior-warrior mo, Benjie, you have a family now."[8][9]

2006 State of Emergency edit source]

On February 24, 2006, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation 1017, declaring a state of emergency existed in the country. Malacañang justified this as they claimed to have foiled a coup d'état attempt, involving several members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police. Among those alleged perpetrators was Supt. Benjamin Magalong, alleged to have been participating in the destabilization efforts and attempting to recruit men to beef up the main destabilization force.[12] He later on admitted his role in the plot and was imprisoned for three months.[8][9]

Police Regional Office Cordillera (PRO-COR) [edit | edit source]

Magalong was appointed as head of the Regional Office of the PNP in Cordillera or PRO-COR on October 29, 2011, succeeding C / Supt. Villamor Bumanglag.[13] Under his administration, several advances were made, such as a purchase of ammo reloading machines, which cut the costs for reloading slug and a GIS-based crime mapping system was launched, which tracks hazard-prone areas and recent crime data in the region.[14] Abra and Kalinga also experienced their most peaceful elections in 2013. He was succeeded by C / Supt. Isagani Nerez[15]

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) edit source]

On December 2013, he returned for the second time to the CIDG and this was appointed as its new chief, succeeding Dir. Francisco Uyami Jr.[16] The CIDG is the PNP's primary investigation arm. Magalong was originally intended to head the Directorate for Intelligence (DI), but was instead was appointed to the CIDG. He said in an interview for the Asian Dragon Magazine that he did not want the post due to its highly politicized nature and that he even tried to exchange commands with Gen. Calima who was appointed in his stead as DI Chief, but Gen. Calima did not want anything to do with the post. He assumed the post and afterwards created a 14-man National Advisory Council, with the goal of the PNP transformation program known as "Patrolman 2030".[8]

2015 Mamasapano crisis edit source]

Gen. Magalong led the Board of Inquiry (BOI) on the Mamasapanoincident. Pressure came from various groups telling him to either soften the president's liability or to not release the report at all. On March 13, 2015, the BOI released their report on the incident. It indicted President Benigno Aquino III, Gen. Alan Purisima and SAF Chief Getulio Napeñas as liable for the deaths of the 44 SAF troopers for bypassing the chain of command. This has been believed to be the cause for him to be set aside as a contender for the PNP Chief post.

Post-Mamasapano inquiry [edit | edit source]

After the report had been released, he was transferred to the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management in July 2015 by the new PNP Chief Ricardo Marquez, his classmate in the 1982 Sandigan Class, succeeding Dir. Francisco Montenegro.[17][18]

In 2016, incoming PNP Chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said that he will appoint Magalong as his Deputy Chief of Operations.[19]

Retirement from the PNP [edit | edit source]

After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56, Gen. Magalong retired on December 15, 2016 from the Philippine National Police, as the Deputy Chief of Operations, having served for more than 38 years. He received 166 Military and PNP achievement and merit Medals for his combat and law enforcement accomplishments, among which, are the Distinguished Conduct Star, the Distinguished Service Star, the PNP Gold Cross and 15 Outstanding Achievement Medals.[20] He was succeeded by PDDG. Ramon Apolinario.[21]

Post-retirement [edit | edit source]

Since his retirement, Magalong has served as Senior Vice President for Operations of Steel Asia, one of the largest steel manufacturers in Asia until November 1, 2018.[22] On January 5, 2018 President Duterte appointed him to serve as a director of the Philippine National Oil Company or PNOC, to serve the unexpired term of Bruce Concepcion until June 30, 2018.[23]

Political career [edit | edit source]

2019 Mayoral Bid [edit | edit source]

Election [edit | edit source]

On October 17, 2018, Magalong filled his certificate of candidacy for the mayoralty post of Baguio City,[24] offering the citizens of Baguio "a breath of fresh air ". He ran under a platform of speedy government action, revitalizing the environment, innovating peace and order condition, aggressive traffic management, empowering the youth and a responsive education program. He would go against 7 others, mostly veteran politicians including Vice Mayor Edison Bilog, Councilors Ed Avila and Leandro Yangot, Jr. and former Councilor Jose Molintas.

On the night of May 13, 2019, election day, he was declared as the winner of the 2019 mayoral polls garnering 41,482 votes, a large margin over his closest contender, Vice Mayor Bilog, who garnered 22,670 votes.[25] He was proclaimed along with re-elected Congressman Mark O. Go and Vice Mayor-elect Faustino A. Olowan.[26] He would succeed outgoing three-term Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, who lost in his congressional comeback bid.

A month after his proclamation as the winner in the mayoral elections, Magalong warned establishments in the city of the existence of several persons using his name to supposedly extort money or place food orders, mostly in restaurants he and his family frequencies.[27]

Mayoralty [edit | edit source]

2019 [edit | edit source]

During his inauguration on June 30, 2019, Magalong outlined his 10-point agenda for the city of Baguio for the next three years. The list included:[28]

  • Speeding Up Government Action
  • Revitalizing The Environment
  • Innovating Peace and Order Condition
  • Aggressive traffic management
  • Responsive Education Program
  • Empowering the Youth
  • Expanding Health and Social Services
  • Responsible Tourism
  • Enlivened Culture, Arts, Crafts, and Heritage
  • Market modernization

Faced with the city's massive waste problem, he began office by temporarily holding the collection of biodegradable waste due to the malfunction of the city's waste-to-fertilizer machines. According to him, a possible solution to would be waste-to-energy technology, which will be initially tested by PNOC. He also ordered Baguio's dumpsite in Irisan be converted into an ecopark by 2020.[29][30]

Several establishment were closed due to lacking or erroneous permits.[31] Massive clean-up drives of the city began since he took office. In accordance with President Duterte's order to clear public roads, several obstructions in the city's roads such as construction and advertising materials were ordered immediately removed.[32][33]

He further expanded his 10-point agenda to 15 points, adding the following to his agenda:[34]

  • Efficient disaster management
  • Empowered and Accountable Barangay Governance
  • Strengthened Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Services
  • Unemployment Reduction
  • Resolution of IP clans and claims

In a move to revitalize the air quality in the city's main thoroughfare, the ascending lane (right side) of Session Road will be closed to traffic every Sunday beginning August 4 for 4 weeks thereafter. However, due to concerns aired, the implementation was postponed to August 18.[35][36] The closure was extended for up to 6 months every Sunday, beginning August 18, 2019.[37]

In September 2019, he expressed his dismay over the ongoing rehabilitation of the Baguio Convention Center, and has since then vowed that he will not tolerate substandard work adding it was about time these contractors became answerable to the people.[38][39]

He also testified before a Senate hearing on "ninja cops", accusing then-PNP General Oscar Albayalde of blocking the dismissal of 13 policemen involved in an irregular drug raid in 2013, from which some policemen had allegedly profited from.[40] In October 2019, days after his testimony at the Senate, Magalong revealed that he has been receiving death threats and is worried for his family.[41][42]

In November 2019, Magalong stood behind one of the city's POSD officer for performing his task without fear or favor. Judge Nelson Largo of Cabanatuan City parked his car in a no parking area, causing the officer to issue him a parking ticket and have the license plate of the car removed, to which Largo retaliated by issuing a subpoena, calling the act of removing the license plates as a violation of due process. Magalong called Judge Largo's actions of having the enforcers subpoenaed as unprofessional and arrogant and said he himself was prepared to accompany the enforcers involved.[43] Days later, during a probe launched by the Supreme Court,[44] Largo retracted the subpoena.[45] The Baguio City Council has since then declared Largo as persona non grata via a resolution.[46]

2020 [edit | edit source]

In December 2019, amidst the influx of tourist into the city, Magalong ordered an aggressive anti-littering campaign, leading to the arrest of 49 people as of January 2020 and has promised that he will continue such campaign.[47]

In January 2020, Magalong, along with DILG Sec. Eduardo Año and DOT Sec. Bernadette Romulo - Puyat officially launched the rehabilitation of the city, which they estimate may last more than three years. The city, however, will not be closed to the public, unlike the rehabilitation efforts done in Boracay.[48]

During a top level meeting on the problems hounding the city, specifically on its air quality, solid waste management and water pollution and supply, Magalong said in jest that the water used to grow the famous strawberries come from the cesspool of Baguio, which is illegally discharged into the Balili River. The statement caused disdain to La Trinidad and Benguet officials. La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda disproved Magalong's statement saying that no irrigation comes from the Balili River as they only source it from the creek of Pico and Puguis.[49] Magalong later issued a statement of apology saying, "I came up with uncalled for statement that I should have not said at all. I was wrong and I apologize" emphasizing that he was pertaining to the issue of the city's guilt of polluting the river which flows into the municipality of La Trinidad.[50]

In late January, due to the threat posed by the COVID-19, Magalong canceled the opening parade of the Panagbenga Festival and other major events within the next three weeks, also affecting the CARAA Games. Magalong stated in an interview that “The tourism revenues are the least of my concerns. My main priorities are the health of my constituents ”, which earned him price from all sectors, especially from the residents of Baguio.[51] The Panagbenga Festival was later rescheduled to late March 21-29, a month from the original scheduled date.[52]

Awards and Honors edit source]

Decorations [edit | edit source]

Among his decorations include:

Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award edit source]

In 2013, Magalong was conferred the Presidential Lingkod Bayan award for his peacekeeping initiatives in Kalinga and Abra; GIS-based crime mapping system; PNP 2030 patrol initiatives; human resource development program; and environment advocacy, among others.[3]

Outstanding Citizen of Baguio City edit source]

During the celebration of the city's founding anniversary on September 1, 2017, Gen. Magalong was awarded as an outstanding citizen of Baguio, along with Dr. Joanne Jularbal Balderas and Dr. Dionisio R. Claridad Jr.[4]

References [edit | edit source]

  1. ↑ https: //halalanresults.abs-cbn.com/local/baguio-city
  2. ↑ "Halalan Results: Ex-CIDG chief Benjamin Magalong is new Baguio mayor". 14 May 2019. https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/05/14/19/halalanresults-ex-cidg-chief-benjamin-magalong-is-new-baguio-mayor.
  3. 3.03.1Opina, Rimaliza (October 6, 2013). "Posthumous awards conferred on typhoon Pepeng heroes". The Midland Courier. http://baguiomidlandcourier.com.ph/region.asp?mode=archives/2013/october/10-6-2013/reg1.txt.
  4. 4.04.1"Three receive outstanding citizen award | City Government of Baguio". http://baguio.gov.ph/content/three-receive-outstanding-citizen-award.
  5. ^ "Personal Circumstances". http://www.benjiemagalong.com/About/.
  6. 6.06.16.2"Educational Attainment". http://www.benjiemagalong.com/About/.
  7. ^ Philippine Headline News Online (Phno). "Elite Special Action Force (Saf) Deployed In Makati City". Newsflash.org. http://www.newsflash.org/2003/05/ht/ht003715.htm. Retrieved 2013-02-06.
  8. 8.08.18.28.38.4Ongpin, Rafael A.S.G. (May – June 2017). "Soldier of Truth: Benjie Magalong". https://www.facebook.com/notes/apa-ongpin/soldier-of-truth-benjie-magalong/10153869602067724/.
  9. 9.09.19.2Ongpin, Rafael (July 28, 2017). "General Benjamin Magalong: Soldier of Truth". http://lifestyle.asiandragonmagazine.com/2015/07/28/general-benjamin-magalong-soldier-of-truth/.
  10. ↑ Vargas, May. "Camp Bagong Diwa Likened to Auswichtz". Bulatlat.http://www.bulatlat.com/news/5-36/5-36-muslim.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  11. ^ "Police, Muslims to thwart Sayyaf reprisals". Sun.Star Manila. 2005-03-18. http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/man/2005/03/18/news/police.muslims.to.thwart.sayyaf.reprisals.html. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  12. ↑ Felipe, Cecille; Alquitran, Non (March 27, 2006). "PNP to file charges vs ex-SAF chief, 3 men in coup plot". The Philippine Star. https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2006/03/27/328308/pnp-file-charges-vs-ex-saf-chief-3-men-coup-plot.
  13. ↑ Madarang, Larry (October 29, 2011). "One strike policy vs. illegal numbers game". The Manila Times. https://www.pressreader.com.
  14. ^ World, Geospatial (April 18, 2012). "PNP incorporates GIS-based crime mapping tool". https://www.geospatialworld.net/news/pnp-incorporates-gis-based-crime-mapping-tool/.
  15. ↑ Bitog, Rubyloida (January 6, 2014). "Cordillera police chief bares priority programs". Sun Star Philippines. https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/323499.
  16. ^ Alquitran, Non (December 11, 2013). "Retirment of 2 generals sparks re-vamp in PNP". The Philippine Star. https://www.pressreader.com.
  17. ^ "Oplan LAMBAT-SIBAT: A Work in progress". April – June 2015. pp. 2. https://didm.pnp.gov.ph/Newsletter/April%20-%20June%202015.pdf.