After months of tension, Isko wants Duterte in his Senate slate

Franco Luna - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6:22 p.m.) — Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer and Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno said he would welcome President Rodrigo Duterte into his Senate slate with open arms, months after the tensions first flared between the two. 

This comes after Duterte's close aide, Sen. Bong Go, announced his withdrawal from the 2022 presidential derby. Go has yet to formalize his withdrawal as presidential candidate of Pederalismo ng Dakilang Dakilang Samahan at the Commission on Elections.

“I will personally vote for President Duterte for senator. And I will be grateful, honored, and humbled to have somebody like the president in our slate as an additional candidate for senator,” Moreno said during an ambush interview in Lapu-Lapu City. 

Flip-flopping stance

Months after their verbal tussle where Moreno was described but not named, the presidential candidate described Duterte as being "very much capable of doing the job as a legislator." Moreno said this after saying he would vote for Duterte. 

He also flip-flopped on his earlier stance against guest candidates. Where he once said that he wanted his Senate slate to support him, Moreno on Monday said he was willing to take on a fourth candidate. 

"If before, I said I only had three senators so you only have nine problems, now I will say, you only have eight to think about because I have a fourth candidate, President Duterte," he said.

Asked why he would want Duterte in his senatorial slate, Moreno explained that as president, Duterte had many accomplishments, including his administration's flagship infrastructure project Build, Build, Build. 

Moreno has long positioned himself as a moderate and has denied being a secret administration candidate. The Manila City chief on Monday went on to praise Duterte for initiating the three-day National Vaccination Drive. 

“Let’s give credit where credit is due. President Duterte has so many accomplishments. And I believe that he can be an effective senator since through legislation, he can ensure that his legacy will be institutionalized,” said Moreno.

The two have had a complicated, up-and-down relationship over the Duterte administration.

Moreno had previously been supportive of the administration's programs and policies, including its "war on drugs" and dolomite white sand beach in Manila Bay.

However, he has also been a vocal critic of the administration's face shield rule in the city of Manila. 

Political realignments are common during the election season. Aksyon Demokratiko itself admitted earlier that the party "had 4,000 more or less candidates jumping ship from different political parties nationwide."

'Never an opposition party'

In a statement issued later Monday, Aksyon Demokratiko chairperson Ernest Ramil said that the party stood behind its standard-bearer's pronouncement as it was never an opposition party.

"Aksyon has taken a centrist and objective stand on many issues and is not an opposition party per se," he said. 

According to the party chair, the party found certain administration policies and programs to be "worth continuing" while others "can be improved, discontinued, or rectified."

“Aksyon is willing to work with anyone that supports Mayor Isko’s Bilis Kilos programs,” Ramil said.

As it currently stands, senatorial aspirants Samira Gutoc, Carl Balita, and Jopet Sison are all part of Moreno's slate ahead of the 2022 elections.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 19, 2022 - 9:57am

Follow this thread for updates on the aspirants for local and national posts in the May 2022 elections. — Main photo by The STAR/Boy Santos

January 19, 2022 - 9:57am

1Sambayan convenor Howard Calleja says the opposition coalition will be endorsing the following for senator:

  • Teddy Baguilat
  • Leila de Lima
  • Chel Diokno
  • Risa Hontiveros
  • Alex Lacson
  • Sonny Matula
  • Antonio Trillanes IV

Calleja says this list may expand when 1Sambayan formally announces its Senate slate on January 28. — Xave Gregorio

January 12, 2022 - 1:27pm

Sen. Manny Pacquiao, a presidential aspirant, opposes transportation restrictions against individuals who are unvaccinated for COVID-19.

"Ako ay nanawagan sa DILG, PNP, DoTr at mga LGU na huwag sanang  pilitin ang ating mga kababayan na magpabakuna kung ito'y labag sa kanilang paniniwala.Huwag natin silang ituring na parang mga kriminal," Pacquiao says in a statement.

January 9, 2022 - 1:38pm

The Mandaluyong CIty campaign headquarters of presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos remains shut following a COVID-19 outbreak among his campaign personnel.

The former senator had tested positive for the virus last week and failed to appear for a Zoom call with the Commission on Elections in the proceedings on petitions against his candidacy.

January 3, 2022 - 8:27pm

Vice President Leni Robredo suspends operations of their campaign headquarters for the safety of volunteers and staff due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.

However, they will continue providing assistance to those who were affected by Typhoon Odette.

The Office of the Vice President's Bayanihan E-Konsulta will also remain open while its Swab Cab will resume operations this week as part of their Covid response.

December 24, 2021 - 3:12pm

The Commission on Elections releases the tentative list of presidential candidates for the 2022 elections.

The poll body has declared at least 80 presidential bets as nuisance out of 97 who filed their certificates of candidacy.

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