MANILA – Former Otso Diretso candidate Samira Gutoc said that just because she has joined Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s Aksyon Demokratiko party doesn’t mean she has betrayed her principles.
Gutoc, a Marawi civic leader who has been included in Aksyon Demokratiko’s 2022 senate slate, joined the opposition's Otso Diretso in the 2019 midterm elections, but failed to win a seat.
“Hindi po ito pagtatraydor sa prinsipyo na ni-lay out naman ng iniina ko sa pulitika na--aminado po ako... na maraming nagtatampo sa akin ngayon, talagang hindi po ako magkakaroon ngayon ng, how do you call it, future po sa political awareness ng tao kung wala po si (Vice President) Leni (Robredo),” she said in a TeleRadyo interview.
(This is not a betrayal of the principles laid out by the one whom I consider as my mother in politics—I admit... that many seem to be bearing grudges against me now. I acknowledge that I wouldn’t have a political awareness in the minds of people if not for VP Leni Robredo.)
“I still continue, naniniwala sa human rights, demokrasya, pagpoprotekta sa teritoryo ng Pilipinas,” she said.
(I still continue to believe in human rights, democracy, and defending Philippine territory.)
Gutoc said she wrote the Liberal Party (LP) leadership about her plans before she moved to Aksyon Demokratiko.
“Nagsulat po ako sa leadership ng aking, nag-adopt sa akin na Partido, LP, before I shifted. Kailangang masabi ko po yun,” she said.
(I wrote the leadership of LP, the party that adopted me, before I shifted. I need to say that.)
“Hindi po ako umalis nang walang kinausap si Senator Kiko (Pangilinan), lahat ng liderato, including VP po.”
(I didn’t leave without speaking to Senator Kiko Pangilinan and the party leadership, including VP.)
Gutoc also explained how she got involved with Aksyon Demokratiko.
"Along the two years po ay nagkakaroon naman po ng LP organizing, yun nga po, in pursuant sa sinasabi ni VP Leni, nag-uusap sila ngayon ni Isko ngayon, nag-uusap kay Pacman, everybody is dialoging."
"Pero, hindi ako kagaya nila na mga sitting politicians. Ako po ay isang community leader na wala po akong opisina by which I can be able to do that. And one thing na nai-offer po, na nakita ko sa Aksyon Demokratiko, for the past 2 years, youth dialogues ako, is a concrete position in a political party, Aksyon Demokratiko, na national board executive position."
(Along the two years, the LP did some organizing, pursuant to what VP Leni said; she is now speaking with Isko, she is speaking with Pacman, everybody is dialoging.)
(But I'm not like them who are sitting politicians. I'm a community leader with no office by which to do that. One thing that Aksyon Demokratiko offered, in the past two years that I've been doing youth dialogues, is a concrete position in a political party, Aksyon Demokartiko, a national board executive position.)
Gutoc said she is in favor of Domagoso’s plans for the Marawi evacuees and other minorities in the country.
“Kinuwento ko po ‘yung pag-uusap namin ni Sir Isko, very supportive po sa minoridad, anong programa niya sa mga bakwit. Nag-converge po kami,” she said.
(Sir Isko and I spoke, he is very supportive of minorities; he talked about his program for the ‘bakwit,’ and we agreed on it.)
Gutoc earlier said she joined Aksyon Demokratiko because she is a fan of its founder, former Sen. Raul Roco.
"I have always been a fan of the late great former Senator Raul Roco and considered his 'Agenda of Hope' an inspired manifesto."
"Aksyon's focus on jobs, hunger, peace, empowerment of the masses and of the youth resonated quite powerfully with me, as these are the same objectives I have set for my work," she said.
Domagoso had also just moved to Aksyon Demokratiko last month. He used to be a member of the National Unity Party, which supported his failed senatorial bid in 2016.
--TeleRadyo, 28 September 2021