MANILA, Philippines --(UPDATE) Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno found himself between two mayoral candidates on Sunday when former presidential peace adviser Avelino Razon Jr. announced that he would be tapping Moreno as his vice mayoral bet in the 2010 polls.
At the Balitaan sa Tinapayan forum (News Forum), Razon, who once served as the chief of the Philippine National Police, said that Moreno (whose real name is Francisco Domagoso) had agreed to be his running mate in the 2010 Manila mayoral race.
This ran counter to Moreno?s pronouncement during his 35th birthday celebration at the Rizal Coliseum football stadium last October 24, that he would run with re-electionist Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.
But Razon stressed, ?Isko and I have talked about this.?
In an interview with the Inquirer, Moreno confirmed that he and Razon once agreed about forging an alliance for the 2010 elections, but he insisted that he had changed his mind and was sticking to his alliance with re-electionist Mayor Alfredo Lim.
Moreno said he was sticking to the decision of his party, Asenso Manileño, which drafted Lim and him as standard bearers of the party in Manila.
In any case, Moreno said he could not stop Razon or even Environment Secretary Lito Atienza from declaring that he was their vice mayoral bet. ?We cannot stop other candidates from claiming me as a running mate. Anybody can say that and I cannot stop them,? Moreno told the Inquirer.
?What is important is the official pronouncement,? he stressed.
A source privy to the agreement and who asked for anonymity, for not having been authorized to speak to media, told the Inquirer that Moreno and Razon met some time last February before Razon made his decision to run for mayor. ?He (Moreno) said yes to Razon when asked if he would agree to be his running mate,? the source pointed out.
He revealed that when Moreno announced his support for Lim?s reelection bid in October, at least six councilors, under the Asenso Manileno party, bolted from the ticket and joined Razon?s group. Razon, he said, would be running under the Nationalist People?s Coalition.
Razon disclosed during the forum that he would be filing his certificate of candidacy for Manila mayor at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on November 27.
He assured the public he would not turn out to be a traditional politician. ?I will serve Manila to provide service and not to turn it into a business.?
Razon will square off with two seasoned politicians: Lim and Environment and Natural Resources secretary Lito Atienza, who have nine years each of serving as Manila mayor.
In a previous interview with the Inquirer, Razon, 57, said he might be a neophyte in Manila politics but that could prove to be his edge over his veteran rivals.
?They each have nine years of experience in the mayoralty but neither of them had a vision for the city,? he remarked.
Atienza focused on beautification while Lim has been trying to erase what his predecessor had done, said Razon.
?There are a lot of things Lim may have done for the city but in totality, they are still insufficient for Manileños, especially for the less fortunate, in the areas of health care and education,? Razon pointed out.
He said he was chief of Manila?s police during the terms of the two and both failed to halt Manila?s slide to urban decay.
?Atienza had a good plan of resurrecting Manila but it was all on the surface. He was not able to touch on the basic needs of health, education, livelihood, and housing,? Razon said.
Being a Manileño for most of his life, growing up in Oroquieta Street in Sta. Cruz, Razon said he would like to restore Manila to its glory years of being the country?s business hub.
?Other cities in Metro Manila, even Taguig City, have left behind Manila. Other cities progressed and developed and Manila was left in urban decay,? Razon pointed out.
He said this should not have been the case, because Manila was the seat of country?s history and culture in four centuries.
?Why can?t we bring that back and make Manila the true capital as it should be??
He said his experience as the chief of the Philippine National Police and the presidential adviser on the peace process helped prepare him for politics.
?They do prepare you for politics because you get a view of what the problem is and acquire the political will to address the problem,? Razon revealed.
He said he would be introducing politics that would emphasize "sacrifice, personal expense and no personal gain.