#Halalan2022: Possible presidential bets wooing Aksyon Demokratiko— officer

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2021 01:48 PM | Updated as of Jul 20 2021 04:06 PM

MANILA - Some possible candidates for president in next year's elections are currently seeking the favor of political party Aksyon Demokratiko, (AD) one of its officers has said. 

Aksyon Demokratiko Secretary General Ernest Ramel said aside from meeting Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who is considering another possible presidential bid, the party's officials are also set to meet with at least 4 other would-be aspirants for the country's top post. 

"The party has been talking with other possible presidential candidates. After that we [follow] our own party mechanism. We’ll discuss it among officers and members of the party. And from there we’ll decide,” Ramel said in an interview with ABS-CBN News, refusing to name the candidates.

The party will weigh what they have heard from these officials before finally deciding who to endorse and coalesce with in September, he said. 

Aksyon Demokratiko, he said, would take into consideration the candidate's principles, way of governance, and track record, among other things.

“We have to check a lot of things in the boxes... do we share that platform of government that they are gonna pursue. Of course, track record of candidate is very important. Secondary na 'yung winnability (Winnability is secondary),” Ramel said. 

He also pointed out that his party is not keen to support the administration's possible candidates, as well as that of the ruling party PDP-Laban. 

The Aksyon Demokratiko party has always advocated for the promotion of rule of law, which he said is in contrast to the administration’s record of extra-judicial killings and stand about the death penalty, corruption, and issues involving the LGBTQIA+ community. 

The Duterte administration has many times denied involvement in summary killings in the pursuit of its drug war.

MEETING WITH PACQUIAO

The camp of Sen. Manny Pacquiao also sent “feelers” more than a month ago, asking for a meeting, said Ramel.

Pacquiao, who is known to be planning a presidential bid, is currently caught in in-fighting within the ruling party.

Aksyon Demokratiko officials are inclined to accept Pacquiao's request for a meeting, although the chances of him bagging their support might be vague due to his stance on various issues, he added.

“His stance for the death penalty, 'yong kanyang stance sa EJK and even 'yong kanyang perceived and out and out pronouncements sa LGBTQ community... which is against our principles... But we might just want to hear him out... we’re not so keen (to support him),” the secretary general said.

Asked if the party’s perception of the boxer-turned-politician would change if he would soften his position on the said issues, Ramel said: “That would be a 100-degree turn around and it won’t sit well with his own constituency.”

In 2016, Aksyon Demokratiko started with more than 400 members, but was “decimated” right after the elections, he noted.

Still, the party contributes a lot in the country’s political spectrum with its fresh and young leaders who are pushing for real reforms, such as Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto.

“Among those who are standing right now, we don’t have any baggage, we don’t have corruption implications. And interesting enough, a lot of people want to join the party because of Mayor Vico Sotto."

AD, for one, is pushing for “political party reforms” where as young as senior high school students should be educated on the importance of a political party and their appreciation of each group’s ideology or stand on issues such labor, economy, and human rights.

“From the pool of those who are joining the party, the pool that we are developing, the young ones, we can of course follow them, for them to pursue their political careers, rather than them raising funds from businessmen na nagiging beholden tuloy sila sa certain interests, rather than ideologies and principles,” he said.

Last week, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the Nationalist People's Coalition, which he chairs, is planning to coalesce with AD for the upcoming national polls.

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