MANILA - Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso on Wednesday belied talk that he is backing out of the presidential race next month, saying the rumors are "attacks" against his 2022 bid.
Domagoso gave the statement when asked if he was willing to negotiate with other presidential contenders to topple former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as the top preferred presidential candidate less than a month before the May 9 elections.
“I don't do backdoor sa isang hostile na opponent,” he said, without naming any candidate.
“You know for a fact that they have been attacking us in their GCs (group chats),” he told reporters on the sidelines of his campaign in Pampanga.
“Mayroon pa silang, ‘May 1 susuko na yan tapos iaappoint 'yan na DILG,’” he said, referring to chatter that he may be named as the next Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
(They have been saying, "He'll back out by May 1 and then he'll be appointed to the DILG.")
He said the strategy is meant to keep "soft supporters" while creating an impression "that they are the holy candidate against Marcos."
A few officials of Ikaw Muna Pilipinas (IM Pilipinas) - Domagoso’s largest volunteer group - earlier abandoned the Manila Mayor’s campaign and instead supported Vice-President Leni Robredo’s candidacy, saying the Vice President had a higher chance of winning against Marcos Jr.
In Pulse Asia's March 2022 pre-election survey, Robredo gained 9 percentage points from her previous score. Her 24-percent rating, though, is still second to Marcos' 56 percent, which is 4 percentage points lower than his February score.
Domagoso settled at third place with 8 percent, followed by Sen. Manny Pacquiao with 6 percent, and Sen. Panfilo Lacson with 2 percent.
Despite this, Domagoso guaranteed his supporters that he would not be backing out of the presidential race.
“Sa basurahan ako galing. Kumain ako ng tira ng tao. Wala akong masuot na damit. Pinalayas kami sa bahay namin ng maraming beses,” he said.
(I came from the dumps. I ate leftovers. I had no clothes to wear. We were evicted from our house multiple times.)
“Lahat ng chapter ng buhay ko, nakatikim ako ng masakit na salita… Ako mismo nilabanan ko at nakikita ko naman na lumalaban ang tao na itaguyod ang buhay niyan bagamat hirap na hirap siya,” he said.
(I have already heard so many hurtful things in all chapters of my life... I fought against it and I see that the people are also fighting for a better life even when they are having a hard time.)
Domagoso has been positioning himself as a candidate who would prioritize solving post-pandemic issues instead of getting involved in the fight between pro and anti-Marcos groups.
“What matters most to me is for you to live with economic certainty,” he said.
“We move on but we don’t forget. We will make people liable for their mistakes, but for the mean time kayo muna, tao muna (the people are the priority).”