Moreno says running to duplicate Manila projects, not to 'run against anybody'

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Moreno says running to duplicate Manila projects, not to 'run against anybody'
Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno formally launches his campaign for the presidency on September 22, 2021.
Manila Public Information Office / released

MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said he is running for presidency in 2022 polls so his projects in the capital may be duplicated nationwide.

In Wednesday’s virtual Kapihan sa Manila Bay with Marichu Villanueva, Moreno said he is not willing to slide down to run for vice president instead. "I have decided already to apply for the position," he said.

Moreno added: "I decided to run, I was not influenced, I was not anointed. I decided to participate to offer what we have done in Manila that are duplicable and scalable."

Moreno became the mayor of Manila in 2019 and has led the capital through nearly two years of the pandemic. Prior to that, Moreno served as social welfare undersecretary and also sat as vice mayor and councilor of Manila.

Last week, the hashtag #WithdrawIsko become one of the trending topics on Twitter, shortly after Vice President Leni Robredo, de facto opposition leader, announced her presidential bid.

Lito Banayo, Moreno’s campaign strategist, said in an interview with ANC’s "After the Fact" earlier this week, said Moreno felt that the hashtag was unfair. He said Moreno's team sees the hashtag as an "engineered clamor" for the Manila mayor to give way.

Banayo noted that Twitter users are mostly Class in A and B. That, he said, prompted Isko to say "Para bang porke't maliliit kaming tao, porket nanggaling kami sa hirap, may karapatan kayo to tell me to withdraw."

(It was as if just because we are small people, we came from poverty, you have the right to tell me to withdraw.)

Not to fight with anybody

But Moreno stressed that he did not join the presidential race to run against Robredo, Marcos or anybody else.

“I did not run against her, not against [Sen. Ping Lacson], Marcos. I ran because I opted to participate in the democracy as candidate for president,” he said.

Moreno hit Robredo last week after the Manila mayor got the impression — mistakenly — that Robredo was running for president only because of the Marcoses. Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the ousted dictator, has also announced his presidential bid.

Robredo however had said while she feels strongly about preventing the Marcoses from returning to Malacañang, this was not the tipping point that made her decide to run for president.

Banayo admitted however that there was a feeling of "betrayal" when Robredo made her own announcement, since he said the team of the vice president was "sincere in trying to unite the opposition."

Over the weekend, Jayson San Juan, deputy secretary general of Moreno's political party said on Twitter that "neither Aksyon Demokratiko nor Isko Moreno Domagoso has branded ourselves as opposition." The tweet, which was in response to criticism from social media users, has been deleted along with San Juan's Twitter account.

"All this time he felt very comfortable that the VP truly had no intention of running for president, and she made it very, very clear to him several times… pagkatapos biglang ganito," Banayo said on "After The Fact".

While they acknowledged that people can change their mind, Banayo said that Robredo's decision "was not happenstance, not an overnight thing. This was pre-planned."

Moreno said Wednesday that he is moving on.

"Ganun lang ako kasimple. May mga taong di tumutupad sa kanilang sinasabi, let the people be our judge someday. Malalaman ng tao, hindi natin maloloko ang tao… Move on. Again and again, kung na-offend yung sinuman I’m sorry di ako anghel," he saud.

(It’s that simple for me. There are people who do not make good on their promises, let our people be our judge someday. The people will know, we cannot fool the people. Move on. Again and again, if there was someone offended, I’m sorry. I’m not an angel.)

'We have to move on'

Moreno is branding himself as a healing president and reiterated that he is running because he is against anyone or family of a politician.

He said he saw how politics between families is always an issue during elections. "We are being dragged backwards by this situation again and again. We don’t forget what happened in the past. We will always remember their mistakes," he said.

Marcos, a former senator and scion of a political clan, has emerged as one of the top bets in pre-elections survey. Victims of his father’s bloody martial law regime are clamoring for a movement to stop the family's return to Malacañang.

 "I do believe, we must live and the people today deserve to live in our present and work together and work together for our better future," Moreno said. "That’s what I want. We have to move forward because the real enemy is COVID-19."

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