Smuggling suspect Bigcas joins race for Bukidnon governor

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/02 October) – A controversial vehicle smuggling suspect from Talakag, Bukidnon has filed his candidacy for governor of the province noon Tuesday.

CONTROVERSIAL RUN. File photo of alleged smuggler Allan Bigcas showing off his riding skills before the fiesta crowd in Cagayan de Oro City on August 27, 2012. Bigcas who has been accused of smuggling luxury vehicles into the country, filed his Certificate of Candidacy for governor of Bukidnon on October 2, 2012. MindaNews photo by Dana Rae Pios/XU DevcomLynard Allan Bigcas, who hogged headlines after law enforcers seized at least 20 allegedly stolen luxury cars and motorbikes from his possession last year, obtained a nomination from Aksyion Demokratiko signed by party secretary-general Ernesto Ramel Jr.

The ways and means committee of the House of Representatives conducted a probe on Bigcas’ business dealings after media reports came out that some customs officials and politicians were possibly involved in his alleged illegal activities.

Earlier reports quoted Bigcas as having said he is a candidate of the Liberal Party, but Senator Teofisto Guingona III denied his claims.

“His reported declaration that he is an LP candidate in Bukidnon is totally false,” Guingona said in an email to reporters.

Bigcas showed reporters a copy of what appears to be a test result showing that he was negative of drugs and even sang Bon Jovi’s “It’s my life” accompanied by a guitar outside the Comelec-Bukidnon office.

He told reporters that people seeking change in Bukidnon had approached him. But when asked what motivated him to run he said it is stunt shows and motocross events.

He admitted he was a drug addict but said he is now a “changed man” after he was arrested in Cagayan de Oro City after his car bumped into a convoy of agents and officials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

He maintained he stole nothing from anyone and that he was just a victim of the smuggling cases filed against him.

He said he will pursue reforms in agriculture but said he will have to study his platform first.

Bigcas’ COC, which indicated “businessman” as his occupation, showed that he is a resident of Barangay 2, Talakag.

He is the second to file a COC for Bukidnon governor.  Delfina Bicatulo, 57, a farmer-businesswoman from Purok 11, Valencia City filed on Monday.

Bigcas’s alleged smuggling operations were uncovered when police and National Bureau of Investigation operatives, acting on tips from the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation raided his home in Talakag and in Barangay Kauswagan in Cagayan de Oro City on May 3, 2011.

Among the vehicles seized was an $80,000 Martin Brothers custom-made motorcycle which was stolen four years ago from Hollywood writer Skip Woods (of X Men and Swordfish fame).

The FBI confirmed that at least seven of over 20 luxury cars and sport motorcycles seized from Bigcas were stolen in the US.

Charged with Bigcas at the Department of Justice in Manila were Noeh Alcala, Gilbert Omolon, Luke Alcala, Lyann Bigcas and Joshua Bigcas, all of Talakag.

Meanwhile, Bukidnon 1st district Rep. Jesus Emmanuel Paras, who was earlier reported to have eyed the gubernatorial post, has filed a COC for reelection along with Bukidnon 2nd district Rep. Florencio T. Flores Jr.

Paras who obtained a nomination from the Nationalist People’s Coalition denied he was asked to run for governor opposite Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr.

Flores indicated that he was nominated by Bukidnon Paglaum Party – Nacionalista Party (BPP-NP).

Paglaum is a local party headed by Zubiri. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)