MANILA — Former Solicitor General Florin "Pilo" Hilbay said on Monday he has resigned from Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso's political party as he opts to endorse the candidacy for president of Vice President Leni Robredo in 2022.
Hilbay in 2019 ran for senator with the support of Aksyon Demokratiko while being part of the opposition coalition at the time, a slate that Robredo supported and Domagoso recently criticized.
Hilbay said he was leaving Aksyon Demokratiko “not to join another party but out of ethical considerations.”
“I respect the decision of my party to choose Mayor Isko Moreno as candidate for president, but also believe VP Leni is a much better candidate in this most crucial of elections,” he said in a statement shared on his social medial accounts.
“Because I intend, as an ordinary citizen, to publicly support her campaign, I must resign from the only political party I have ever joined,” he added.
Domagoso earlier called Robredo a "fake leader with a fake color" after she decided to run as an independent candidate even if she is the current chairman of the Liberal Party.
The Manila mayor used the derogatory slangs "yellowtards" (yellow retards) and "inidoro" (toilet) against Robredo and her supporters during a press conference.
Hilbay said Robredo would be “a president who will confront problems not with publicity stunts to manipulate Filipinos but with honest-to-goodness attempts at solutions.”
“We do not need more of the same, or even less of the same,” he said. “We can’t afford another narcissistic, gaslighting troll for a president. A candidate who wakes up only during campaigns is no leader, and we can’t have another absentee president.”
Hilbay, who ranked first in the 1999 Bar exams, was the country's SolGen from 2014 until 2016, during the administration of the late President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III.
He lost in the 2019 midterm elections.
While Aksyon "may have lost a good member" with Hilbay's exit, it "gained thousands of members that will contest the 2022 elections belonging to different and bigger political parties," said party chairman Ernest Ramel Jr.
He noted the party now has 3 official Senate contenders, including civic leader Samira Gutoc.
Like Hilbay, Gutoc ran for senator and lost under opposition slate Otso Diretso in 2019.
"In fact, we continue to get more queries and applications from other candidates even after the filing of certificate of candidacies had lapsed," Ramel noted.
"This just proves that Aksyon Demokratiko, particularly our standard bearer, Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso are getting more support and gaining more strength as we embark towards victory in 2022," he added.
Aksyon Demokratiko was founded by the late Sen. Raul Roco.