Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and House Deputy Speaker and Cebu 3rd District Rep. Pablo John “PJ” Garcia have officially endorsed Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso as a leader who lets his “actions and accomplishments do the talking” as they strongly urged voters to elect the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer as the next president of the country.
Recto, who heads One Batangas, and Garcia, the secretary-general of One Cebu, made their respective pitches for Mayor Isko during Tuesday’s proclamation rally of the national candidates of Aksyon Demokratiko at the Kartilya ng Katipunan beside the Manila City Hall.
In endorsing Moreno, Recto stressed Moreno would have been the last presidential candidate he would choose had self-interest been the basis of his decision since Mayor Isko was not one of his closest friends.
“Of all the presidential applicants, in fact, Isko was the last I met and my best friend. If I think only of self -interest, he is the last one I will support,” he said in a video message.
“But I believe that in choosing our leader, there is a more important basis – a town before gangs and cohorts, a platform not a drama, a record made and not a list of promises. Not in the ‘liyamado’ but in the sure and genuine service,” Recto said.
Recto, who has earlier said that One Batangas is supporting Moreno because he possesses “the training, skills, experience and leadership to be an outstanding president,” said the leadership qualities of Mayor Isko became apparent during the present pandemic, which has served as a practicum and a big audition for presidential aspirants.
“The pandemic weighed on their ability. He is also the one who reveals who is missing,” he said.
Recto pointed to that Moreno was the only one who built the largest Covid-19 field hospital in the country with a 344-bed capacity in just 52 days; the only local chief executive to stock up on life-saving drugs like Remdesivir and Molnupiravir and freely gave them to whoever needs it wherever he may come from; and the only one to build a state-of-the-art modern medical center in the Bagong Ospital ng Maynila.
The Senate leader also noted that Moreno was the first to establish a large number of free testing sites, refurbish all local government unit hospitals to be ready for Covid patients, a continuous distribution of “ayuda,” and housing for the poor, among others.
“It’s easy to invent a story and patch up a promise. But Isko is different. He runs on the strength of projects he has done, facilities that are not just drawing, but already working, things that are already standing, and that provide comfort, not just planned. Others are just handing out promissory notes. Isko already has a receipt,” Recto said.
“In a short time, he has shown leadership that is not sluggish and not lazy. We have been waiting for a long time for a leader who has a real solution and can act quickly,” he added.
Recto said Filipinos should choose Moreno because he fully believes that Mayor Isko can do to the whole country what he had done in the City of Manila.
“He has done it in his life, he has done it in the City of Manila, and he can do it all over the Philippines. I call on you, to campaign with your friends, relatives and neighbors to vote this coming May, Isko Moreno Domagoso for -president of the New Philippines,” he said.
Recto’s endorsement carries a lot of weight in vote-rich Batangas where five out of six district representatives, including all 12 provincial board members and most of the province’s mayors, vice mayors and councilors are members of One Batangas. The province has 1.7 million registered voters last 2019.
Congressman PJ Garcia echoed Recto’s endorsement, saying Moreno’s success in rising up from abject poverty to become the mayor of the premier city of the Philippines is one that is unique and exceptional in all aspects.
“It was almost impossible for him to overcome the hardships he went through. So maybe when he became mayor, he first gave a solution to the hardship he went through here in Manila,” Garcia noted.
He pointed how he built quality housing buildings like Tondominium for Manila’s homeless, 10-story airconditioned public school buildings for poor students, a world-class hospital for the poor and rich alike, and jobs “for all those who persevere.”
Garcia said “Yorme” did all this so that the Isko Moreno of today, those who are growing up in poverty like him before, will now find it possible to uplift their lives and succeed like him.
Like Recto, Garcia also firmly believes that Moreno can replicate what he did in Manila throughout the Philippines. “He did it in Manila so there’s the proof.”
Garcia likewise stressed that Moreno’s love for the poor and the helpless is not confined to the boundaries of Manila as proven by recent calamitous events in Cebu City.
He related that when a fire broke out in the slums of Barangay Mambaling in Cebu City last November and displaced almost 1,000 families, Moreno immediately went to Cebu City the following day and without much fanfare, shelled out P10,000 for each family from his own pocket.
And after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette last December, Moreno again immediately went to Cebu at the first available flight he can get to bring assistance to typhoon victims. And just like what he did in November, he did it without the eyes of media following him.
The endorsement of the Garcia’s is crucial to Moreno as One Cebu is the dominant local political party in the most vote-rich province in the Philippines with more than 3.2 million as of September 2021.
As secretary-general of One Cebu, Cong. PJ Garcia may have already done that.
Meanwhile, Mayor Dennis Tom Hernandez on Wednesday formally switched his support to Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate Isko Moreno Domagoso after he, along with other political leaders, were politically “orphaned” with Senator Bong Go’s withdrawal from the presidential race.
Hernandez, who is running for his second term as mayor, has been an active supporter of Senator Go and was able to make him win in this Southern Tagalog town in the 2019 senatorial race. The Municipality of Rodriguez has 209,000 registered voters and is a new district of Rizal province.
On Wednesday, the second day of the 90-day campaign period for national posts, Moreno resumed his provincial sorties in Rizal province, visiting the towns of Rodriguez and San Mateo with his vice presidential candidate Doc Willie Ong and Aksyon senatorial bets Dr. Carl Balita, Samira Gutoc and Jopet Sison.
Moreno and his Aksyon Demokratiko slate made a courtesy call to the Rodriguez City Hall and it was during his visit that Mayor Hernandez formally expressed his full support behind his presidential candidacy.
Hernandez is among a number of former supporters of Senator Go who have transferred their support behind the candidacy of the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer.
On Tuesday, officers and members of the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC), a big volunteer group that propelled President Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 elections, formally shifted their support behind Moreno’s presidential bid.
Earlier, known die-hard Duterte supporter actress Vivian Velez has also shifted her support to Moreno and is now actively mobilizing her group to campaign for the 47-year-old presidential candidate. Velez is currently president of the Film Academy of the Philippines.
Former Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, the president of MRRD, expressed the group’s commitment of support during the proclamation rally of the Aksyon Demokratiko party that officially kicked off the 90-day campaign of its national candidates.
Besides Castriciones, other officials and members of MRRD-NECC were also present at the Kartilya ng Katipunan where the proclamation rally was held.
The former Duterte Cabinet member made it clear however that his and his group’s manifestation of support has nothing to do with his own candidacy, being a senatorial candidate under the Cusi wing of PDP-Laban.