Ex-Isko volunteers commit to secure political alliances for Robredo

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 15 2022 10:45 AM

MANILA - Several former volunteers from the camp of Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso are now working to help Vice President Leni Robredo secure more political alliances in critical areas, the head of the group said, Wednesday.

Key officials who left Ikaw Muna Pilipinas (IM Pilipinas) - Domagoso's largest volunteer arm - are using their expertise in alliance building among local politicians and sectoral groups to court more votes for Robredo less than a month before the 2022 national elections, said former Transportation Undersecretary Thomas Orbos, who used to be the overall coordinator of the NaISKO volunteer coalition.

“We're political creatures,” said Orbos, who has been involved in the campaigns of former President Benigno Aquino III, Sen. Francis Tolentino, and his brother former Pangasinan Governor Oscar Orbos.

“This came from Sen. Bam: Their volunteers are homegrown, organic as they say, but not politically experienced or conscious,” he said referring to former Sen. Bam Aquino, who is now Robredo’s campaign manager.

“[They are] very young in the game, and since we've done already this in other shapes or form before, then that's where we think we can be of help, in political approaches, negotiations and securing political alliances,” he told ABS-CBN News Digital.

Orbos said he would start efforts in Pangasinan, his vote-rich home province, which is considered part of the Ilocos region bailiwick of former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“We will hit where it matters. Ilocos Region, mahirap doon but that's where I come from so sige, I will serve in that area,” he said.

There will also be efforts to convert more votes and local alliances in favor of Robredo in the National Capital Region, another region where Marcos Jr. continues to lead, said Orbos, the former general manager of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Volunteers from Cebu and Zamboanga who also defected from Domagoso’s camp are expected to also forge more political and sectoral alliances for the Vice President in their respective areas, he said.

“Sa sectoral, mukhang covered ni VP Leni lahat ng sectors so tutulong na lang kami to cover whatever we can, whatever they need from us,” he said.

MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR VOLUNTEERS

Orbos described their shift to Robredo’s group as “refreshing,” noting that the Vice President’s camp has been welcoming and accommodating even to new volunteers.

“Ang maganda lang sa kaniya (Robredo)… how she treats everyone,” Orbos said.

“The echo chamber is there but people speak their minds and they don't fight. Doon ako nagugulat,” he said.

“Sa pinanggalingan ko, away talaga. Very vindictive. I was part of the blame game, the hate game, the politics of color,” he said, but neither mentioned names nor more details about the supposed infighting.

While Robredo’s people “argue” over certain campaign matters, “they will not fight with you,” Orbos said.

“They will argue with you but at the end of the day parang pamilya.”

There are more opportunities for volunteers to actually work in the so-called Pink camp, he said.

“I [was] a volunteer of Yorme... I will not complain but I would have wanted more, I could have done more,” he said.

“Ang naging problema sa pinanggalingan namin, nandoon naman [ang volunteerism] but in a limited sense,” he said.

“Hindi nagamit ng gusto... dahil baka limited yung pagkakataon or talagang it was their decision na ilimit din yung participation of volunteers.”

One of Robredo’s selling points that may attract more volunteers is her sincerity, Orbos said.

“Once you take a look at her, the sincerity, what she has done, what she intends to do, hindi diktador. Makikita mo naman,” she said.

“What’s important in any organization, in any community, country is you need a leader that will inspire you,” he said.

“Once you have that, kahit na kulang yung binibigay sa iyong tools to make things happen, that will compensate... the lack of resources we need.”

‘200,000 VOLUNTEERS FOR LENI’

In 2021, Orbos promised to deliver 1 million supporters for Domagoso, and now claims that they hit the number.

This time, the campaign veteran vows to convince some 200,000 others to campaign for Robredo about 3 weeks before Filipinos troop to polling precincts to cast their votes.

“‘Yung binigay ko kay Mayor Isko, kung puwede hindi ko na gagalawin… I won’t [do] yung mamimingwit ako doon o maghaharvest doon,” Orbos said.

“If they wanna shift, that's not my problem anymore, that's not my responsibility,” he said.

Orbos did not mention how many members of IM Pilipinas shifted to Robredo’s campaign, but Philip Piccio - the group’s new Secretary-General - said 99 percent of its hundreds of thousands of members nationwide are still backing Domagoso’s presidency.