PDAF lawyer Baligod weds Leyte politician, Binay is godfather
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Pork scam lawyer Levito Baligod married former mayoralty candidate Marilou “Malot” Veloso-Galenzoga in an intimate ceremony at the San Antonio de Padua Church in Silang, Cavite on Wednesday, May 28.
According to Galenzoga’s chief of staff, the couple avoided publicity, with only family, close friends, and Galenzoga’s political staff from Leyte in attendance. The ceremony was not primarily meant for VIPs – except perhaps for one landing by helicopter – Vice-President Jejomar Binay,* whom they invited as principal sponsor.
Binay said he does not know Baligod personally, but Galenzoga was his local leader in the 2013 elections. Galenzoga ran as the official mayoralty candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance but lost to incumbent Carmen L. Cari of the Liberal Party in May 2013.
The other principal sponsors included Leyte Congressman Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and former chief justice Renato Puno. Romualdez also reportedly landed by chopper. He is said to be planning a gubernatorial bid for Leyte in 2016 under Binay who is known to be running for president.
How they met
Baligod remarried after he lost his first wife to cancer in 2013.
Carlyn Ann Galenzoga, Malot's sister, said earlier the couple met in 2013 in a party at the house of Malot's sister, Dayday Dieza, in Quezon City. Baligod is a relative of Malot’s brother-in-law, Conrad Dieza, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class ’92 who ran for governor of Kalinga in the recent elections.
Courtship did not immediately happen because Malot was then having a difficult mayoral campaign in Baybay. Her love story with Baligod blossomed shortly after Super Typhoon Yolanda, with the laywer frequenting Leyte to help Galenzoga with relief operations.
With Baligod's courtship of Galenzoga, however, came a parting of ways with whistleblowers Benhur Luy and Merlina Suñas. In a March 3, 2014 letter addressed to Baligod, Luy said, "It has been a rough and rugged road for us, and for all you have done, I am eternally thankful. However, I have noticed you are very busy with your other advocacies and that is why I have decided to pursue this journey even without [you] guiding me."
Rappler broke the story about the Baligod-Galenzoga engagement a few days before Luy dropped Baligod. (READ: PDAF scam lawyer engaged to Leyte politician)
On May 23, 2014, it was the turn of Suñas to relieve Baligod. While thankful for his support despite all the difficulties they encountered, Suñas said, "Regrettably, I have decided to continue my battles without you guiding me."
On May 21, a week before the wedding, a special board of canvassers at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Manila recanvassed the votes for Baybay City after they ruled en banc that the City Board of Canvassers (CBOC) was illegally constituted. The results turned out the same, and Cari’s mayorship was upheld.
However, Galenzoga said she will continue her fight "now that Atty Baligod is on our side," she said in her supporters’ Facebook group “Kausaban sa Baybay” (Change in Baybay). Her next step would be to file an electoral protest so the ballots could be reopened. She is alleging there were pre-shaded ballots which the recanvassing cannot detect.
Galenzoga told Rappler that Baligod approached Cari during the recanvassing, and said he will see to it that Cari ends up in jail in 3 months' time. Galenzoga had earlier filed tons of charges against Cari, including graft, robbery, illegal detention, illegal arrest, after police broke into her home and detained hundreds of her supporters. – Rappler.com
Editor's Note: In an earlier version of this story, we named Vice President Jejomar Binay as the only VIP invited to the wedding. There were at least 3 others: Congressman Romualdez and former Supreme Court justice Renato Puno who were also principal sponsors. Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco was said to have also attended the wedding.