Isko explains photo with Marcos, blames Leni camp for resurfacing pic

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 18 2022 02:26 PM | Updated as of Apr 18 2022 06:35 PM

SURIGAO CITY (UPDATE) - Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso on Monday accused Vice President Leni Robredo's camp of "playing dirty" after a picture of him dining with former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. resurfaced on social media hours after he urged the second-highest official of the country to quit her presidential bid.

The picture was taken in February 2021 during the reopening of the Emerald Restaurant in Manila, Domagoso told reporters, denying insinuations that he has teamed up with the son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In explaining the photo, Domagoso said the business owner invited him and Marcos Jr. to the "surprise" event.

"Ang nangyari doon, nag-cut ako ng ribbon. Ako mayor, salamat may negosyo, may trabaho tapos nagkasal ako," he said.

"Kinasal ko yung may-ari. It was supposed to be a surprise sa kaniyang long-term partner," he said.

(What happened there was I cut the ribbon. I am the mayor and I officiated the wedding of the owner. It was supposed to be a surprise for the owner's long-term partner.) 

The Manila Mayor slammed Robredo's camp for putting malice in the photo, adding that the Liberal Party she chairs has been spewing "a lot of fake" propaganda.

"Galing na naman sa dilaw. Straightforward, dilaw talaga," Domagoso told reporters, but did not elaborate his claim.

(It came from the yellow camp. It's really the yellow.) 

"Marumi talaga maglaro ang dilaw," he said, referring to the Liberal Party, which is known for using yellow as its campaign color. Robredo, who ran for vice president in 2016 under the Liberal Party, is now pursuing the presidency as an independent candidate. 

(The yellows play dirty.)

Aksyon Demokratiko chairperson Ernest Ramel Jr. sent screenshots of Robredo supporters who shared the old picture in question.

"To support Mayor Isko's claim, Pinoy Ako Blog (Jover Laurio), a known yellow supporter/blogger, posted this yesterday," Ramel said.

"Another Leni supporter, Dr. Leachon," he said, after sending a screenshot of Dr. Tony Leachon's post, where the cardiologist wrote "connect the dots and today's press con at Manila Pen."

During a joint press conference on Easter Sunday, Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Domagoso said Robredo "cannot be trusted" after she "fooled" several presidential aspirants into thinking that she was not interested in vying for the Philippines' highest elected post.

"She said to my face, 1,000 times that she will not run for president," Domagoso said in a press conference at the Manila Peninsula Hotel, attended also by Lacson and another presidential candidate, former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales.

"We were made to believe to unite, but we were fooled, literally in our face. That kind of person cannot be trusted," he said.

Gonzales had also accused Robredo's camp of offering to reimburse his campaign expenses in exchange for dropping his presidential bid. 

Domagoso said the Vice President's camp has also been poaching his supporters.

"Hinuhubaran [nila] 'yung kalaban. Supposed to be so-called kayo yung disente," the Manila Mayor said.

"Kung wala kaming bisa, bakit mo pa kinakahoy yung mga tao namin? Bakit mo pa binibili yung mga tao namin?" he said.

(They are stripping their rivals. You are supposed to be the so-called decent camp. If we are ineffective, why are you poaching our people? Why are you buying our people.) 

Former members of Domagoso's Ikaw Muna Pilipinas (IM Pilipinas) volunteer group earlier denied allegations that Robredo's camp paid them to withdraw their support for the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer.

"Mayor Isko, it pains us sincerely that you allude to us being paid," the group, led by former Transportation Undersecretary Tim Orbos, said in a statement.

"For someone who has not thanked us despite the voluntary help we have given to you, now we understand and regret whatever admiration we had for you," they said.

Robredo said she remained focused on her campaign and asked supporters to refrain from making hurtful remarks.

“Malinaw ang direksyon ni VP Leni sa ating People's Campaign, huwag magpatalo sa emosyon, focus lang sa kampanya," her spokesman Barry Gutierrez said in a separate statement. 

"Kung may mga kandidatong naghahanap ng papatol sa kanila, tumingin na lang sila sa iba," he added. 

(The direction of VP Leni for our People's Campaign is clear, do not let emotion rule us, just focus on the campaign. If there are candidates looking for people who will pay attention to them, they should look else where.)