MANILA (UPDATE)—Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso is set to take oath as a member of Aksyon Demokratiko on Thursday, ahead of the filing of candidacies for the 2022 national elections, ABS-CBN News has learned.
Domagoso has "already resigned as vice chairman for political affairs and member of the National Unity Party (NUP) yesterday," one source told ABS-CBN News.
"Mayor Isko's oath-taking will coincide with the 16th death anniversary of Aksyon Demokratiko founder Sen. Raul Roco," another source said.
The Manila Mayor is expected to meet with Aksyon Demokratiko's officials and Sonia Roco, Roco's widow, at the Rizal Park Hotel in Manila at 4 p.m. before the oath-taking at 5 p.m.
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, the party's executive vice president, is not expected to attend the event, one of the sources said.
On Wednesday night, Sotto said this is not the time for him to meddle in politics.
"Laban pa lang para sa malinis na paggobyerno sa LGU, mabigat na. Hindi panahon para makisawsaw sa politika ng nasyonal," he said.
(The fight for clean governance in local government units keeps us busy already. This is not the time to meddle in national politics.)
Domagoso's inclusion in the party came 10 days ahead of the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) August 15 deadline for the submission of the Sworn Information Update Statement (SIUS).
The document, which states the party's office details, list of officers, list of elected members, and other details, is meant "to ensure that those in the registry are still in existence and continue to comply with the requirements of the Constitution," the Comelec said in an earlier circular.
Prior to joining Aksyon Demokratiko, Domagoso was a part of the NUP for about 6 years. NUP also backed the Manila Mayor's failed senatorial bid in 2016.
His transfer to Aksyon Demokratiko is spurring talk that the Manila Mayor will soon declare his intention to run for president in the 2022 national elections, but the party has yet to make a formal announcement.
The last time Aksyon Demokratiko fielded its own presidential candidate was in 2004, when Roco lost to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
"Walang materyales (There is no material) within the party to go for the presidency. Most of the people we have aspire lang for local positions," secretary-general Ernest Ramel Jr. told ABS-CBN News in an earlier interview.
So far, Aksyon Demokratiko has fewer than 400 members nationwide, he said.
"Last 2016, we had 400 plus and 2019 was a little lower than that," Ramel said. "Most of them joined PDP-Laban and other partiers where the local dynasties are entrenched."
The party, however, has been getting more inquiries from millennials who want to run for public office after Sotto joined the group in 2019, Ramel said.
"There are hundreds who are saying they want to join the party so we are going through the applications they send for scheduling of the basic online orientation," he said.
"It's a good thing a lot of young people are joining us . . . That certainly gives us an advantage in helping our local candidates in certain areas."
While Aksyon Demokratiko is relatively smaller compared to other political parties backed by tycoons and political dynasties, Ramel said his party continues to enjoy "some prestige."
"Admittedly, we do not have a lot of elected officials all over, but we do have strong chapters. They have their own following and they could deliver votes," he said.
"The name of the party is synonymous to good governance, anti-corruption, rule of law because of the legacy of the founder, Sen. Raul Roco. It still has some prestige."