‘Stroke of genius’? Analyst explains why Doc Willie is ‘perfect’ for Isko

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2021 02:43 AM | Updated as of Sep 22 2021 02:47 PM

Willie Ong delivers his introductory remarks during the Harapan 2019 Senatorial Town Hall Debate at the ABS-CBN headquarters on February 17, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file
Willie Ong delivers his introductory remarks during the Harapan 2019 Senatorial Town Hall Debate at the ABS-CBN headquarters on February 17, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA—When Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Tuesday confirmed his presidential bid, he surprised the public when he announced his running mate.

Lawyer Tony La Viña, former dean of the Manila-based Ateneo School of Government, however, believes that choosing Dr. Willie Ong as Domagoso's running mate is a "stroke of genius".

"Stroke of genius 'yung kay Dr. Ong na choice. I expected someone else na populist candidate din," La Viña told Teleradyo.

(Choosing Dr. Ong was a stroke of genius. I expected someone else who's also a populist candidate.) 

"Parang perfect choice for the pandemic. Doktor ka. He's a serious doctor. Parang Dr. (Juan) Flavier siya, 'yung ganoong klase na doktor. For sure 'yan, ang advantage niyan, nandoon kay Isko at Ong."

(He's like the perfect choice for the pandemic. He's a doctor, he's a serious doctor, like Dr. Flavier, that kind of doctor. I'm sure Isko and Dr. Ong has the advantage.)

La Viña said Domagoso and Ong will dominate social media and will most likely appeal to younger voters.

"Interesting itong kay Dr. Ong kasi I think that's because of social media, because they will run a campaign on social media, essentially. I don't think they have a lot of money. May pera 'yan sila (They have the funds), because Isko a bankable, feasible candidate, pero they will not have the kind of money na the Duterte candidate will have, or 'yung dati (like before), si Mar Roxas, had, or ever Grace Poe had. Most probably walang ganoon (nothing like that), at first," he said.

"Knowing Isko, it will be a social media campaign. That's what he's good at. It will be a campaign directed at young voters and get that bulk of voters. Most probably that explains why"

Like the Manila mayor, Ong enjoys a large social media following, with 16.37 million followers on Facebook, and 16.4K followers on Twitter.

But his massive social media presence did not translate into votes for Ong in 2019 when he ran for the Senate.

Ong, who rose to fame by answering health-related questions on social media, failed to clinch a seat in the upper chamber after he landed on the 18th slot, with about 7.4 million votes.

Hours before Domagoso confirmed his 2022 tandem with Ong, the Manila mayor posted a minute-long video showcasing people from different walks of life relating with the plight of the actor-turned-politician.

Domagoso is the party president of Aksyon Demokratiko, the political party of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, another popular politician on social media.

As of posting time, Ong has yet to answer queries on whether he has officially transferred to Aksyon. — With a report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

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