Isko: Government positions not inherited in democracy

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star
Isko: Government positions not inherited in democracy
“I don’t believe a government position is inherited in a democratic government. In a democracy, the people make the choice,” Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said in an interview with “Headstart” on ANC.
Edd Gumban, file

MANILA, Philippines — There’s no way he will support a presidential candidate from any political dynasty, as the presidency in a democracy should not be “inherited,” Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said yesterday.

“I don’t believe a government position is inherited in a democratic government. In a democracy, the people make the choice,” Moreno said in an interview with “Headstart” on ANC.

His declaration came after presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced that the Manila mayor is one of the politicians being eyed as administration standard-bearer in the 2022 elections.

Opposition coalition 1Sambayan also has Moreno in its shortlist of possible presidential candidates.

“I don’t want to preempt the people in choosing their leader but I hope they will not be called stupid later on,” Moreno said when asked if another Duterte would be good for the country.

Moreno stressed he is not bound to support any presidential candidate coming from a political dynasty.

He admitted he’s “definitely” running – but not necessarily for president. “If I am going to run, I will try to make sure to unify everybody, whatever colors they have,” Moreno said.

“I am busy being mayor. I have an obligation in Manila. I would rather focus on that until the last day that I decide and I am going to be fair with our people, I am going to be honest with our people. Whatever it is, that remains to be seen,” he said.

He also admitted feeling flattered by Roque’s announcement but quipped he was “not sure if that’s only a joke,” as it did not come directly from the President.

“It’s not easy to assume. But thank you very much, I am honored. I’m really honored,” Moreno said.

On Monday, the ruling PDP-Laban held a council meeting in Cebu where party officials issued a resolution urging President Duterte to run for vice president and choose his runningmate in 2022. Energy chief and party vice chairman Alfonso Cusi called the meeting on Duterte’s orders. It is widely believed Duterte would eventually accept the arrangement and choose his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, as his runningmate.

A faction in the party led by Sen. Manny Pacquiao called the meeting unauthorized and boycotted it. The boxing legend-turned-politician is also eyeing the presidency.

Done deal?

With the help of a former lawmaker, former defense chief Gilbert Teodoro Jr. may have gained the Davao City mayor’s approval to be her runningmate in the 2022 elections.

Former Camarines Sur congressman Rolando Andaya Jr. said he contacted a friend from Duterte’s camp to relay Teodoro’s wish to be her runningmate and that her response was positive. Teodoro – together with his wife Monica and Andaya – met Duterte in Davao on Thursday.

“It’s a done deal and that’s not just my personal opinion,” he told “The Chiefs” on One News Thursday evening.

“It’s the vibe and camaraderie between the two that made me say it’s a done deal. For her to stay that long speaks a lot,” he pointed out, adding that the meeting lasted for almost four hours over meals.

“Gibo wanted to run for national office and he’s looking for a leader in the Bicol region. Gibo and I go a long way. So I told him if he wanted to be VP of Sara and he said ‘yes.’ So I contacted my friend from Sara’s camp and she said yes,” the former Bicol lawmaker said.

Asked what made him think Duterte was in favor of running in tandem with Teodoro, Andaya said “she did not say no, so that’s a half yes.”

He stressed that unlike a traditional tandem, Duterte and Teodoro would not depend on political parties or their machinery for support.

“That’s the problem when you look at traditional politics, you have to have party machinery. Both of them don’t have that. They want to run as independent and they are not actively looking for parties to adopt them,” Andaya said. “Maybe parties may adopt them and they can accept that, but they’re not looking for parties to adopt them. There lies the difference.”

Duterte is the founder of the Davao City-based Hugpong ng Pagbabago party.

“This is an unconventional partnership because parties take a backseat here. While political parties are having conventions now looking for leaders when the real problem is COVID-19, you have here two independent minded people, one of them getting vaccine which is actually the solution to the problem,” Andaya maintained.

Andaya said the two did not even discuss money requirements for the campaign or the endorsement of the ruling PDP-Laban party for the possible vice presidential run of President Duterte.

“She might be carrying the Duterte brand, but Mayor Inday Sara is her own person,” he explained.

Victim of traditional politics

Asked about the winnability of Teodoro given his loss in the 2010 presidential race and his absence since then, Andaya admitted that the Harvard law school graduate was a victim of traditional politics.

“The problem with Gibo was that traditional politics led to his downfall. But none of you can question his eligibility. That’s why we’re avoiding usual partisan politics this time,” he said, adding that the challenge for them is to reintroduce Teodoro to the public, especially to the younger generation.

The former congressman, however, would not say how final the deal between the two is.

“I wouldn’t want to give away certain things because I don’t want to take away from Gibo and Inday Sara their time to tell the public of their real plans,” he explained.

Both Duterte and Teodoro are lawyers.

“I found a common friend with Sara. I offered my help to her, nauna ako, if and when you decide to run for president I will support you and I can give you support of mayors – majority of mayors – in my province supporting you at this stage,” Andaya said, addressing the Davao City mayor.

Rotten system

Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), meanwhile, has vowed to oppose a Duterte father-daughter tandem in 2022.

“The fact that a Duterte-Duterte tandem is one of the possibilities for 2022 is proof of how rotten the political system has become. This is peak dynastic rule. This is self-serving politics at its worst,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said yesterday.

“No way can they hide the fact that this is brazen concentration of power more than anything else. This is not progressive change. This is a further slide backwards, a regression,” he added.

Reyes said that allowing Duterte to run for vice president with his daughter as president is a “de facto second-term” for Duterte, which would make “a mockery of the Constitution.”

He cited Article VII Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution which states that “the President shall not be eligible for any reelection. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time.”

Reyes also slammed those justifying a Duterte-Duterte tandem supposedly for smooth continuation of the administration’s programs.

“The Philippines is not the exclusive playground of one family or one clique. The people deserve better than the continuation of a failed pandemic response, the gross violation of human rights, corruption and abuse of power, economic degradation and failure to uphold sovereignty,” he said.

“All these things are bound to worsen under a dynasty because power is concentrated in the hands of a few and there are no effective checks and balances. The people must reject the Duterte dynasty. Let us continue to dialogue, discuss, organize and mobilize against the failed regime,” he added. – Edu Punay, Elizabeth Marcelo

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