Vico Sotto distances from claim he OK'd Isko's pres'l bid under Aksyon

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2022 07:04 PM | Updated as of Feb 15 2022 10:32 PM

MANILA - Aksyon Demokratiko executive vice president Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto on Tuesday distanced himself from his party's statement that he was among those who approved Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso's pitch to become their 2022 standard bearer.

"We met with more than one candidate. But I asked them nicely, and they agreed that I would not be involved in national politics," Sotto told ABS-CBN News.

"Sabi ko sa kanila, hindi na muna ako mangingialam sa national politics kasi medyo matindi yung ginagawa natin dito sa local. And they said, ' Okay'. They agreed," he said.

(I told them I will not meddle in national politics because what we are doing in the local government is quite challenging. And they said, 'Okay'. They agreed.)

Sotto gave the statement a day after Aksyon Demokratiko chairman Ernest Ramel Jr. said in a press conference Monday that the Pasig Mayor was part of the panel that gave the nod to Domagoso as the party's presidential bet.

Domagoso joined Aksyon Demokratiko and became party president in August last year. Prior to that, he belonged to the National Unity Party.

Sotto also denied Ramel's statement that he begged off from endorsing candidates to avoid being in a tight spot as Senate President Vicente Sotto III, his uncle and godfather, is running for vice president under a different slate.

"Of course, I always respect and I love my uncle dearly," the 32-year-old Pasig mayor said.

"Ganoon din ang napag-usapan, ang napagkasunduan namin ni Tito Sen. I asked him nicely, Ninong ko siya, 'Ninong, hindi na muna ako makikialam sa national politics ha.' He said, 'Okay'."

(That's also what I and Sen. Tito discussed. I asked him nicely, he's my godfather, that I would not meddle in national politics. He said okay.)

Pasig has always been the priority, said the mayor who has some 1 million social media followers.

"That has been my stand from before."

"I know some people may criticize me for not wanting to be involved in national politics. But those people who criticize me for that don't understand the kind of battles that we are facing here in the local government of Pasig," he said.

"Hindi biro yung ginagawa namin dito na nililinis namin ang pamahalaan. We have decades-old institutionalized corruption here."

(The internal government cleansing we are doing here is no joke. We have decades-old institutionalized corruption here.)

Sotto rose to power in 2019, defeating then-incumbent Mayor Bobby Eusebio whose family has been ruling Metro Manila's 4th richest city for about three decades.

Despite spending his first term pushing for reforms against corruption and reaping accolades from international bodies, Sotto has yet to win over several local and barangay officials who have been allied with the Eusebio clan for decades.

"It's really not easy. Kung dadagdagan ko pa, if we'll try to fight another battle, baka hindi ko na kayanin," he said.

(It's really not easy. If I'll add more, if we'll try to fight another battle, I might not be able to handle all of them anymore.)
 
Asked if he has been receiving or entertaining offers to jump ship to another party after the 2022 elections, Sotto said: "Ayokong nagsasalita ng tapos. Pero sa dami ng kailangan kong gawin dito, kailangan dito lang talaga ako mag-focus sa lungsod ng Pasig."

(I don't want to speak with certainty. But with the work that I need to do here, I really need to just focus in the City of Pasig.)

"I still respect them (Aksyon leadership). I still believe in the party principles. But I hope they continue to adhere to the party principles because that's why I joined the party," he said.

"Back when we had no members, that's (principles) why we joined the party."

Aksyon Demokratiko - a party founded by the late Sen. Raul Rocco - has been espousing the following principles:

  • honest government
  • opportunity for all
  • special privileges for none
  • peace, productivity and prosperity
  • education and environment for sustainable development

The Pasig Mayor appealed to the public to "understand" his refusal to endorse a presidential contender at this point in the race.

"I hope people understand," he said, referring to those who have been criticizing him online for not making a clear stand on who he is backing for the presidency.

His uncle, Sen. Sotto, is the running mate of presidential aspirant Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson. His father, actor and TV host Vic Sotto, attended the Lacson-Sotto proclamation rally last Feb. 8.

"'Yung mga nagsasabi naman noon, hindi naman taga-Pasig. 'Yung mga taga rito, naiintindihan nila na kailangan mag-focus tayo sa laban natin dito sa Pasig," the mayor said.

(The people who are saying that are not from Pasig. The people from here understand that we need to focus on our fight here in Pasig.)

"Mula't sapul, dito lang naman ako naka-focus sa Pasig."

(From the start, Pasig has always been my focus.)

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