Manila mayor defends product endorsements

Marc Jayson Cayabyab - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno defended his product endorsements while in public office, saying he donated his talent fees to indigents and did not benefit from it.

During his Facebook Live address on Friday night, Moreno addressed criticisms on social media after netizen Fahima Tajar called him out for his billboard endorsements of a prominent jeans brand along Edsa.

Tajar, a lawyer, cited Section 90 of the Local Government Code that prohibits governors and mayors from “practicing their profession or engaging in any occupation other than the exercise of their functions as local chief executives.”

Moreno bristled at the comment and called Tajar an “epal” and “mema.”

He said he never benefited from his modelling stint while in public office, and opted to donate the money instead to schools and hospitals in Manila, and victims of Taal.

He said he has raised at least P50 million from modelling for skin care and hair products.

“The billboard picture is only a byproduct of the intention. I did not do that for myself. I just want to fulfill what’s in the contract. If you want real talk, how can you call yourselves decent people?” Moreno said in addressing critics.

The mayor identified Tajar with militant groups that always criticize government with slogans and vandalisms, citing the case of Panday Sining whose members were arrested by the Manila Police District for their protest art on the concrete posts of Light Rail Transit Line 1 last year.

“My question is, how will this benefit the people of Batangas? Because you are just irritated at my face along EDSA? Is that fair? Was this because I once ordered the arrest of your companions?” Moreno said.

On Facebook, Tajar blasted Moreno for endorsing products while in public office and for making her appear like a paid troll when she was just citing his violation of the law.

Moreno said he will do his best to use his good looks just to raise money for calamity victims and indigents.

“If I have to use my body just to serve you, I will do it, day and night and noon until the wee hours of the morning,” said Moreno, who starred in sexy roles and modeled before joining politics.

His son Domingo also donated P50,000 from his talent fees to Taal victims.

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