SANTA MARIA, Laguna - Aksyon Demokratiko's Halalan 2022 standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso on Thursday thanked supporters and allies of President Rodrigo Duterte who are backing his presidential bid.
"Maraming salamat sa mga DDS, sa mga Duterte die-hard supporter at mga kaalyado ni Pangulong Duterte na tumutulong sa atin," Domagoso said in a chance interview here.
(I thanks the DDS, the Duterte die-hard supporters and allies of President Rodrigo Duterte who are helping us.)
Several former and current Cabinet members of Duterte, local officials allied with ruling PDP-Laban, as well as vloggers and celebrities who had campaigned for Duterte have expressed support for Domagoso's candidacy, calling the Manila Mayor a "part of the administration family."
Domagoso, 46, previously addressed issues associating him with Duterte. He called reports that he is the Duterte administration’s secret candidate as "fake news", and rejected the "DuterteLite" tag on him.
In August last year, he was saddened that Duterte had more time to look at sexy photos of a Metro Manila mayor instead of addressing the country's COVID-19 situation.
This, after Duterte publicly shamed an unnamed mayor for posing in his underwear in the past, saying such a person is unfit to lead. Domagoso is the lone mayor in the capital region who was once a matinee idol and sexy star in the 90s.
Duterte has yet to endorse any presidential candidate in the May 9 elections after his bet, Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, backed out, even as he found the remaining contenders to be qualified for the position.
Asked if Duterte has sent feelers about him being the anointed one, Domagoso said: "Hindi ko alam kung tutulungan ako ni Pangulong Duterte."
(I don't know if President Duterte will help me.)
Domagoso's camp began using the hashtag #ShiftToIsko a few days before former Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, Interior Undersecretary Martin Diño and pro-Duterte celebrity Vivian Velez attended the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer's proclamation rally in Manila last Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Rodriguez, Rizal Mayor Dennis "Tom" Hernandez endorsed Domagoso, saying PDP-Laban members have been allowed to pick their own presidential candidates after Go's withdrawal.
Domagoso welcomed the development, adding he is willing to work even with his election rivals if they wish to serve under his administration, in case he wins.
"Yung mga gustong-gustong tumulong sa mga tao, kahit hindi ako binoto --- which is yung mga ibang kandidato sa pagka-presidente --- puwede silang tumulong sa atin and I welcome them," he said.
(Those who really want to help the people, even though they did not vote for me --- I am referring to other presidential candidates --- can still help us, and I will welcome them.)
"Nagawa ko sa Maynila na magpatawad. Hindi lang ako nagpatawad, kinuha ko pa yung mga magagaling na tao ng iba't ibang administrasyon," he added.
(I was able to forgive my rivals in Manila. I did not just forgive them, I even hired their well-performing personnel from various administrations.)
Lito Banayo, Domagoso's campaign manager, said he is not discounting a possible alliance with other presidential contenders, particularly Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
"'Yung pagpuri niya (Domagoso) kay Sen. Ping, bukal sa kalooban niya yun. He really admires Sen. Ping... Si Sen. Manny naman, talagang mabait," Banayo told ANC's Headstart.
(Domagoso's praises for Sen. Ping are from the heart. He really admires Sen. Ping... Sen. Manny is really kind.)
"Everything is possible... Things can still evolve. Things can happen down the line," he added.
Vice President Leni Robredo, whose supporters have labeled Domagoso as a lite version of Duterte, was not mentioned among other presidential candidates who the Manila Mayor was willing to work with.
Domagoso's camp has repeatedly said that unity talks with Robredo's team last year did not bear fruit as the vice president allegedly has her own agenda.
"We felt that we were taken for a ride," Banayo said.
Domagoso ranked third, tied with Pacquiao, in the December 2021 Pulse Asia survey on preferred presidential candidates, each getting the support of 8 percent of 2,400 respondents.
Former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. topped the survey, with 53 percent, followed by Robredo, with 20 percent.
Lacson was in fourth place, with 6 percent.
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