MANILA - Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Monday filed his certificate of candidacy for president, formalizing his 2022 election bid and role as Aksyon Demokratiko's standard bearer.
"This is the time to be true to our commitment. Wag kayo malilito. Tuloy ang gobyerno sa lungsod ng Maynila… Today will be part of history and I hope it is destiny," he said in a short message at the Manila City Hall before the filing.
Domagoso filed his certificate of candidacy on October 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi and the birthday of late television host German Moreno, who helped catapult the actor-turned-politician into stardom in the 80s.
Before filing his COC, Domagoso visited the Sto. Niño Church in Moriones, where he and his mother used to pray when he was still living in the slums of Tondo.
Domagoso earlier said that he plans to become a "healing" president, who could work both with members of the current administration and opposition.
"Kapag may pananagutan ka, haharap ka sa husgado... pero in my leadership, no abuse will come to you," he earlier told ANC's Headstart.
(If you have a liability, you have to face the court... but in my leadership, no abuse will come to you.)
"'Yung paghihigante, galit dito after ng isang administrasyon, sisisihin yung isang administrasyon, magpapakulong na naman, that's not me," he said.
(Vengeance, anger towards one administration, blaming other administrations, incarcerating political figures, that's not me.)
He added that no member of his family will join politics while he is in public office.
Aksyon Demokratiko's membership has grown by 300 percent since Domagoso and Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto joined the party, Aksyon chairmen Ernest Ramel Jr. told ABS-CBN News in an earlier interview.
"The days after he declared [his intention to run for president], talagang bumuhos. We think there will be more [new members] even after we issue the CONAs," he said.
(The days after he declared his intention to run for president, the inquiries really poured in. We think there will be more new members even after we issue the CONAs.)
Among the recent additions to Aksyon Demokratiko are former Lakas-CMD official Dr. Willie Ong, who will run for vice president under Domagoso's ticket, former Liberal Party member Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, and former Otso Diretso candidate Samira Gutoc.
ISKO'S 'CATCH ALL PARTY'
While the sudden increase in Aksyon Demokratiko's membership may be proof of Domagoso's popularity, it is "typical for catch-all parties," said Arjan Aguirre, a political science professor from the Ateneo de Manila University.
"Catch-all parties are parties that welcome all types of members regardless of their political views," he said.
"Usually the growth of these parties is caused by the presence of a very popular candidate," he added, that this kind of growth was also enjoyed by the Liberal Party in 2010, and by the PDP-Laban in 2016.
While the strong show of support can help the Manila Mayor be perceived as "a winnable presidential candidate," the deluge of new members is also expected to help Aksyon Demokratiko "build a campaign machinery," Aguirre said.
"Members from local politicians or incumbents are a big push. Members from ordinary people mean having more warm bodies to be mobilized," he said.
Aksyon Demokratiko's standard bearer has repeatedly said that his projects in the Philippine capital serve as the "prototype" of what he could do for the country should he win the presidency next year.
"Ang laway ko, nasasanla," Domagoso has repeatedly said in public speeches as he enumerated reforms he did in the capital in a span of 3 years.
(You can take my words to the bank.)
"I do not run on promises. I run on prototypes," he said.
Domagoso, who started as a trash picker and a pedicab driver before entering show business in the 80s, defeated former Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada in 2019.
Since he ascended to the capital's mayoral seat, Domagoso has used social media to amplify his projects and popularity in the city.
In Moreno's first 100 days in office, at least 16 ambassadors visited his office to pledge aid and support for Manila's rehabilitation efforts, while OFWs from the Middle East, Europe, and Northern America remitted some $10,600 or about P550,000 to help fund Manila city projects.
Businesses in the capital have also forged partnerships with the Manila Mayor after he reduced real property tax in the capital by 40 percent, and offered a 15-year, tax-free promise for investors who are willing to construct buildings and skyscrapers in the deteriorating Escolta area.
Domagoso has yet to outline his specific platforms for 2022, but a Pulse Asia survey conducted between September 6 and 11 showed the Manila Mayor trailing behind Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Both Duterte-Carpio and Marcos Jr. have yet to file their certificate of candidacy for president.