(UPDATED) Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto launched his re-election bid before hundreds of supporters on Friday, in stark contrast to his 2019 campaign rally at a vacant lot in Metro Manila's 4th richest city.
Three years since the capital region's youngest mayor ended the 27-year reign of the Eusebio dynasty in Pasig, Sotto now bats for a second term with a vice mayoralty candidate and an 11-strong city council slate, another noticeable disparity compared to his first bid.
"Hindi po sapat yung magaling, marami pong magaling. Hindi po sapat yung matalino, marami pong matatalino. Hindi po sapat yung masipag, marami pong masisipag diyan," Sotto said in his campaign speech at the Pasig Mega Market.
"Kailangan ko po ng makakasama na mapagkakatiwalaan natin,” he said, as he urged the crowd to vote for his entire 2022 slate.
(Being excellent, smart and hard working are not enough. There are a lot of excellent, smart and hard working people but what we need are people we can trust.)
During his speech, Sotto highlighted the city’s annual P1-B savings, attributed to an aggressive anti-corruption push, and the billions of pesos worth of aid the local government shelled out during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pasig can do more than these if voters would only give the current city administration more allies, the mayor said.
“Kung makakasama ko ang mga taong ito ay mas lalong uunlad ang lungsod na ito at ang pag-unlad na ito ay hindi lang yung pag-unlad na para lamang sa iilang tao," he said, referring to his 11-members Council slate.
(If I can be with these people in government, our City will become more progressive not just for a few, but for all.)
Sotto's bid for a second term is being challenged by incumbent Vice Mayor Iyo Bernardo.
Last week, Bernardo filed a cyber libel case against Sotto, alleging that the mayor besmirched his reputation during a January flag ceremony that was live streamed.
Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo - Sotto's political mentor and long-time ally - is poised for a re-match against his 2019 rival, former Rep. Ricky Eusebio, and independent candidate Rex Maliuanag.
"Kapag ang dinala niyo po ay iisa lang, hindi na naman po mabubuo yung programa na gustong isulong ni Mayor Vico," Romulo said.
(If you only vote for 1, Mayor Vico's programs will not come to fruition again.)
"Sana po ay talagang magtulungan na po tayo dito. Kapag nagtulungan po tayo ay yung mga benepisyong nakukuha natin ngayon ay mapaparami natin," he said.
(I hope we can really help each other this year. If we help each other, the benefits we receive now can multiply by many fold.)
VICE MAYORALTY POST
Sotto has also convinced former Pasig Rep. Robert "Dodot" Jaworski Jr. to end his 15-year political hiatus after the mayor recruited him to run for vice mayor.
"Dahil noong 2019 pinalitan ninyo ang programa at pulitika ng ating lungsod, ito na po ang panahon para tayo ay mangarap muli," Jaworksi said.
(Now is the time for us to dream again after we changed the program and politics of our city in 2019.)
"Ako po ay nandito sa harap ninyo hindi dahil nangangarap akong maging vice mayor ng Pasig. Ako'y tumatayo sa harap ninyo ngayon dahil ako ay naniniwala sa liderato ng ating Mayor Vico Sotto," he said.
(I am here in front of you not because I dream to be Pasig vice mayor. I'm standing before you because I believe in the leadership of our Mayor Vico Sotto.)
Jaworski's last foray in politics was in 2007, when he ran for city mayor but lost to then-Councilor Bobby Eusebio.
This year, Jaworski is pitted against two other vice mayoralty aspirants: incumber Councilor Junjun Concepcion and former Councilor Christian Sia.
CITY COUNCIL SLATE
Of the 50 candidates vying for a seat in Pasig's City Council, 11 are part of Sotto's "Giting ng Pasig" slate.
Sotto's city council slate consists of the following:
- Volta Delos Santos
- Eric Gonzales
- Kiko Rustia
- Pao Santiago
- Paul Senogat
- Simon Romulo Tantoco
- Buboy Agustin
- Quin Cruz
- Angelu De Leon
- Corie Raymundo
- Maro Martires
TV personality Gabriel Bayan was supposed to be part of the slate, but withdrew his certificate of candidacy citing personal reasons.
Raymundo, who is running on her third and final term as city councilor, used to be an ally of the 4 members of the Eusebio family who occupied the mayoralty post from 1992 to 2019.
"Wala namang ibang partido noon sa pagkakonsehal kung di sa Eusebio. 'Yun 'yung sitwasyon noon," Raymundo told ABS-CBN News.
(There were no other parties for councilors other than the Eusebios. That was the situation back then.)
When asked why she shifted to Sotto's camp, the veteran city councilor said: "Mas ganado ako magtrabaho kasi si Mayor Vico ang prinsipyo niya, kapareho ng sa akin."
(I am more empowered to work now because Mayor Vico and I share the same principles.)
"Noong dati akong nangangampanya, ang saya-saya, ang bongga-bongga pero yung mga tao pare-pareho ang nakikita ko kapag may caucus," she said.
(When I was campaigning before, it was fun, it was extravagant, but I only see the same people over and over in caucuses.)
"Ito (kampanya ngayon), simpleng simple, damang-dama mo yung pagkakasama ninyo... Ngayon, iba-iba yung tao na lumalabas talaga ng mga bahay."
(This time, the campaign is simple and you can really feel that you are united... It's different now because different people really go out of their houses to join.)
The rest of Sotto's slate are either young or neophyte candidates who will be pitted against Bernardo's team of veteran politicians, who are mostly seeking re-election.
De Leon, an actress, who is now venturing into the world of public service and politics said despite being a public personality, she is still adjusting to the campaign trail, especially with restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Let's be realistic and honest. Hindi masyadong mahirap magpakilala... Pero hindi ako nagba-bank on that," she said.
(Let's be realistic and honest. It's not very difficult to introduce yourself... But I don't just bank on that. )
"It's a privilege na mayroon akong name recall pero ang puhunan ko sa kampanyang ito is tiyaga, sipag talaga," she said.
(It's a privilege that I have name recall but I really invest in this campaign through perseverance and hard work.)
De Leon is pushing for the revival of good manners and right conduct in schools and communities, especially among the youth, as well as provide more livelihood opportunities for senior citizens.
Rustia - a former television host - is running under Sotto's slate for the second time after his failed City Council bid in 2019.
"Noong nakaraan kasi talagang masasabi natin na lumaban tayo sa agos ng pulitika. Bumabangga tayo sa pader noong mga panahon na yun. It was really difficult for us," Rustia told ABS-CBN News in a separate interview.
(In the past, I can say that we were really going against the political tide. We were bumping against a wall at that time. It was really difficult for us.)
"Wala naman tayong binago sa kampanya natin, sa tao pa rin tayo dumidiretso... I really take time to explain sa mga tao yung platforms ko, yung programs ko," he said, referring to his proposed programs for animal welfare, the environment and for persons with disabilities.
(We didn't really change anything in our campaign, we still go straight to the people... I really take time to explain my platforms, my programs.)
Romulo Tantoco, grandson of former Sen. Alberto Romulo and nephew of Rep. Romulo, underscored in his speech that while his family name may be known in Pasig, he hopes that voters would choose him based on merits.
"Hindi sapat ang pangalan lang para makuha ang respeto ng Pasigueño kaya pansamantalang pinili natin gumawa ng sariling karera sa pribadong sektor," said the Romulo scion, who is banking on his experience in the business and corporate sector.
(My name is not enough to earn the respect of Pasigueños that's why I chose to pursue a career in the private sector first.)
"Simple lang ang gusto natin: Kung sakaling para sa atin ang tagumpay, nawa'y palarin hindi dahil sa pangalan, kundi sa taglay na kakayahan at senseridad," he said.
(What we want is simple: If victory is for us, may we attain it not because of a family name, but because of our own ability and sincerity.)
After the "Giting ng Pasig" event, Sotto went back to the city hall, just a few blocks away from the market, while his slate proceeded to house-to-house campaigning in various barangays.
Pasig is the 8th most vote-rich city in the Philippines, boasting of 457,370 registered voters in the 2022 elections, according to data sourced by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
In 2019, only 76.48 percent of Pasig's 440,000 voters actually went out to cast their ballots.
In 2016, about 42 percent of Pasigueños backed President Rodrigo Duterte's candidacy, while nearly 41 percent wanted former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to become vice president.
For the 2022 elections, Sotto stood firm that he would not endorse any national candidate, saying he prefers to focus on his tasks as a local official.
Sotto is the executive vice president of Aksyon Demokratiko, which is fielding Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso for president.
He is also the nephew and godson of Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who is seeking the vice presidency and is backing the presidential bid of Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
Bernardo - on the other hand - has formed an alliance with Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.