MANILA - Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Friday dismissed speculation that he would be gunning for the presidency in the 2022 national elections, despite earning the admiration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte recently praised Moreno, saying the Manila mayor's "resolve" was "better than his."
In nearly all his speaking engagements, Moreno has been cajoled by the audience to run for the country's highest post in the next polls as the 44-year-old mayor continues to rake in positive reviews on social media for his hands-on governance style in the capital city.
"It is not in my radar," Moreno told reporters on the sidelines of a business forum in Taguig.
"To entertain these thoughts also gives uncertainty in our direction," he said. "I think I would rather focus, use all my available energy and some simple concept of mind sa lungsod ng Maynila."
Moreno said he had been attending business meetings and forums not to campaign for the presidency, but to "market the city of Manila."
"I'm happy and honored to speak before any organization. If I can market the City of Manila, why not?" he said.
"Wala namang gastos ang pagpunta ko sa ganito," he said.
The National Unity Party (NUP), wherein Moreno serves as vice chairman for political affairs, earlier said it was "too early" to field the Manila mayor in the national race.
Moreno ran for senator in 2016 but failed to land in the Magic 12, marking his first election loss since he entered politics as Manila councilor in the early '90s.
Moreno hinted that he would "renew his contract" with the people of Manila when his first term ends in 2022, but added that nobody "can foresee tomorrow."
"Whether we like it or not, 2022 will come," Moreno said. "The only question is, nandun ka pa ba by the time na dumating yun?"