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Isko: I Have Moved On From Rift With Leni; Camp Says Mayor Will Be Gentler As It Denies He’s ‘Duterte Lite’

Isko: I Have Moved On From Rift With Leni; Camp Says Mayor Will Be Gentler As It Denies He’s ‘Duterte Lite’
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno declares intention to run for president at the Baseco Compound in Tondo on Sept. 22, 2021. Photo by KJ Rosales, The Philippine STAR

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said on Wednesday, Oct. 13,  he has “moved on” since he lashed out at Vice President Leni Robredo for disagreeing with him about his stance on the Marcoses.

 During the “Kapihan sa Manila Bay” forum, Moreno was asked to confirm party officials’ statements that he was “offended” when Robredo joined the presidential derby even when she had reportedly pushed Moreno to run for president with Sen. Manny Pacquiao as vice president during unity talks that later bogged down.

“I moved on with my life. That’s how simple it is. Let the people judge those who do not fulfill their promises,” he said in Filipino.

Moreno last week spoke against the Vice President and called her a “fake leader” running just to prevent the Marcoses’ return to Malacañang.

He reacted strongly to a brief statement from Robredo, who said talks with Moreno fell through because of the mayor’s seeming leniency toward the Marcoses.

Moreno in previous interviews said he admired Ferdinand Marcos’ “vision” but not the human rights abuses during the dictatorship.

During the online forum, Moreno said he recognizes both the “mistakes and successes” of the Marcos dictatorship, adding that politics should not be about a rift between political families.

Moreno’s stance about the Marcoses was seen as neutral by some activists, with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. saying the issues that hound the Marcoses since the fall of the dictatorship were “never (about) a fight between two families…(but) a fight between the people and forces of dictatorship.”

On Facebook, a group called “Lawyers against Disinformation” slammed Moreno for “trivializing” the atrocities committed during the dictatorship when he lambasted Robredo for running to prevent the Marcoses’ return to power.

The group also took issue with Moreno’s use of the word “yellowtards” when he scored Robredo’s supporters for calling on him to slide down.

Gentler tone?

Moreno’s campaign manager, Lito Banayo, said in an interview with “Wag Po!” on One PH Tuesday, Oct. 12, Moreno felt that there was a “sense of betrayal.”

“I was not surprised at the reaction of Isko. I may have been surprised at the language to be honest, pero ‘yung reaction hindi ako surprised (but I wasn’t surprised with the reaction). Ang feeling ni Isko may sense of betrayal (Isko felt that there was a sense of betrayal),” he said. 

“All this time we were made to believe that the Vice President was being an honest broker towards unification, towards uniting the disparate groups in order to come up with a common slate,” he said.

“There were a lot of meeting where they talked and with all due respect to the Vice President, Isko was really sincere in dealing with them,” Banayo added in a mix of English and Filipino.

Banayo also revealed why Moreno’s camp did not join opposition coalition 1Sambayan’s process of choosing its candidates for president and vice president. “There was a time with 1Sambayan that we felt they were boxing (out) other candidates aside from Vice President Leni, that’s why we didn’t join the process,” he said in Filipino.

Moreno’s campaign manager also questioned the hashtag #WithdrawIsko, which trended on social media on the day Robredo announced her decision to run for president.

He said Robredo told them she wanted to prevent the return of the Marcoses to power, and the candidate to be endorsed by President Duterte from winning.

“That’s her purpose. So why are we the ones who should withdraw?” Banayo asked.

But Banayo said Moreno would not be a Duterte 2.0 in terms of language. He added everyone has a temper and could sometimes burst out ill feelings.

He assured the public that Moreno is not the type to hold a grudge for long and pursue and create an “unfriendly” atmosphere between him and the Vice President or other political competitors.

“Isko is not like that... In the next few days you will notice, you will see na Isko…sabihin natin na galing sa mahirap, is very much a gentleman, and he knows…lahat naman tayo may temper, lahat naman tayo may hinanakit na hindi mapigilan kung minsan pero hindi ganun si Isko na magtatanim,” Banayo noted.

Poe as VP

Banayo said Moreno wanted Sen. Grace Poe to be his running mate, but the lawmaker turned down his offer.

Banayo revealed the parents of Poe – the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. and actress Susan Roces – were Moreno’s godparents.

Moreno ran under Poe’s senatorial slate when she ran for president and stuck it out with her even when other senatoriables were already leaving her in favor or other candidates.

No secret candidate

The chairman of Aksyon Demokratiko party denied allegations also on Tuesday that its presidential bet Moreno is the Duterte administration’s “secret candidate” for the 2022 elections. 

In an interview with “Sa Totoo Lang” on One PH, Aksyon Demokratiko chairman Ernest Ramel stressed Moreno wouldn’t give up the opportunity of running for a second term as Manila mayor only to be the administration’s secret bet.

“Why give that up para lang maging administration candidate ka?” Ramel argued.

Ramel said calling Moreno a secret candidate and “Duterte Lite” was black propaganda.

Alam mo, isang malaking kalokohan po ‘yanKami po sa Aksyon Demokratiko ay hindi po magpapagamit sa ganyang klaseng kalokohan, sa ganyang klaseng kabulastugan (That’s very ridiculous. We in Aksyon Demokratiko refuse to be used for such mischief, such kind of indecency),” he added.

 Ramel said the party has since been criticizing the administration. “Let the people see and hear what the platforms are really, what the candidates offer rather than resort to black propaganda at this very early especially,” he added in a mix of English and Filipino.

Ramel also defended Moreno on his stance on martial law imposed during the term of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, saying the local chief executive is not soft on the matter, and that the atrocities at the time should never happen again.

Bago namin tinanggap si Mayor Isko sa Aksyon Demokratiko, ang Aksyon Demokratiko po ay may malalim na pagtayo laban sa mga Marcoses, sa mga atrocities ng martial law at paniningil sa mga Marcos sa mga kasalanan nila sa bayanAt narinig po namin ang paninindigan niya (Moreno) dyan (Before we took in Mayor Isko in Aksyon Demokratiko, Aksyon Demokratiko has always been resolute in its stand against the Marcoses, the atrocities of martial law and demanding justice from the Marcoses’ sins against the nation. And we have heard Moreno’s stand on that),” Ramel said.

According to Ramel, Moreno believes the rule of law should prevail and those who committed wrongdoings must be charged if necessary.

“If there is a case, then that case should continue, Ramel said, adding the martial law atrocities, abuse of power, human rights violations and corruption should not happen again.

Last week, Moreno slammed Robredo after she revealed that his stance on the candidacy of the late dictator’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.,  for president was one of the factors in her decision to run for the nation’s highest position.

Robredo’s camp later answered Moreno, saying that they were surprised by what he said and that his statements reflect more on him than the Vice President.

Ramel also said that during the unity talks between Robredo and Moreno, the Vice President was initially pushing for a tandem of the Manila mayor and Pacquiao – who is also now a presidential candidate.

Robredo wanted the Moreno-Pacquiao tandem because she thought that it got bigger chances of Marcos or any candidate of the Duterte administration or Duterte’s daughter herself, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

He said they were surprised that after a week or two, Robredo decided to run.

The Vice President repeatedly said that she did not plan to run  for president, but the support from 1Sambayan and other groups made her seek the country’s highest post.

Following her announcement on Oct. 7, Robredo noted she felt that her decision was correct as support was overwhelming.

Her supporters also said Robredo should not be faulted for using pink as her color and for running as independent since Moreno himself switched political parties.

Robredo explained pink has become the color of global protest, which signifies that the fight is not just about the Marcoses returning to power but bad governance in general. She also said she is running as an independent to show that she is open to all other parties and groups and not just the Liberal Party (LP), which is associated with the color yellow. 

Robredo clarified she's not abandoning LP, which she chairs, while the party president and Robredo's running mate, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, said they are fully supporting the Vice President in her bid to be the country's chief executive.