MANILA - The National Unity Party (NUP) is not building any candidate for the presidential elections on 2022, despite having a rising name under its roster.
Rep. Roberto Puno, NUP Vice Chairman for Internal Affairs, said the party is not fielding Manila Mayor Isko Moreno as its national candidate.
"Masyadong maaga. Of course, if he decides to change, then we will talk about it. But so far, what I've heard from discussions with Isko Moreno is that he seems to be focused on Manila," he said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.
Puno said Moreno should finish his term as Manila mayor in order to carry out his plans for the city.
Moreno on Tuesday was named party vice chairman for political affairs, a key position in the emerging power bloc in the House of Representatives.
Moreno has been a member of NUP for nearly three years. The party supported his failed senatorial bid in 2016.
"When he didn't make it, immediately he became the deputy secretary general of the National Unity Party way back in 2016," Puno said.
Moreno’s local party, Asenso Manileño, is an affiliate of the group.
The mayor has earned praise for immediately taking action on illegal vendors, illegal parking, garbage and other problems plaguing the capital.
The NUP is the third largest party in the lower house with 57 members, including 12 party-list coalition members.
Of the 57, Puno said 45 are district representatives.
However, the congressman representing the 1st District of Antipolo said they are not aspiring to become the largest party in the House of Representatives.
"We want to stay well below 60. We're 45 now. When you get too large, you find congressmen at cross purposes with one another," he said.
He said the party has decided to limit its membership.
"We have a cap at maximum between 45 to 50 district congressmen," he said.
One of its new members is House Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte who was adopted by the NUP. But Puno said Rep. Duterte will not take his oath as an NUP party member.
"He's (a) local party member. Wala naman siyang membership in any national parties, and for him to maintain that and be accessible to everybody is probably an advantage to him," he said.