MANILA - Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Tuesday said he would not refuse a potential election endorsement from President Rodrigo Duterte now that the chief executive's bet has withdrawn from the presidential race.
Domagoso gave the statement when asked to comment about Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go's recent announcement that he would no longer proceed with his plan to run for president.
"Hindi ako tatanggi. Ang pulubi, hindi nakakapamili," Domagoso told reporters in a chance interview.
(I will not refuse. Beggars cannot choose.)
"Umaasa ako sa lahat ng tulong kasi from the beginning, nagtapat ako na kailangan ko ng tulong... Kailangan ko ng mga allies, loyalists, believers, followers and volunteers," he said.
(I am looking forward to receiving help because at the very start, I have been honest that I need help... I need allies, loyalists, believers, followers and volunteers.)
In a recent SWS survey, Domagoso placed third among presidential contenders likely to win the election next year, trailing behind former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Vice President Leni Robredo.
In several public speeches, the Manila Mayor underscored that unlike his rivals for the presidency, he neither comes from a political clan nor enjoys a large political machinery that could help propel his campaign.
While an endorsement from Duterte is welcome, Domagoso said his camp would not actively court the chief executive for his support in the 2022 national elections.
"Kung ako ang mapupusuan nila, salamat, thank you in advance. Pero ayoko pa rin pangunahan sila until they say so," he said.
(If they will root for me, thank you in advance. But I don't want to get ahead of them until they say so themselves.)
"For the meantime, I am always hopeful. Antayin ko na kursunadahin nila ako (I will wait for them to like me)," he said.
Domagoso has been dubbed by several camps as "DuterteLite" or "IskoTerte" due to alleged similarities between the President and the Manila Mayor.
The Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer said he would continue Duterte's controversial war on drugs, focusing on foreign drug lords and couriers.
Domagoso, however, had repeatedly denied that he was a secret candidate of the administration.