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Vico Sotto: We need to go beyond yellow vs DDS

MANILA, Philippines — The resistance of Pasig City Mayor-elect Vico Sotto to entreaties this week that he join President Rodrigo Duterte’s ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has secured him a spot in an increasingly small club—Metro Manila mayors not allied with a powerful national party.

Manila Mayor-elect Isko Moreno of local party Asenso Manileño is the only other chief executive who can claim this distinction. Eleven other mayors, on the other hand, belong to the administration-backed coalition of PDP-Laban, Nacionalista Party (NP) and Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

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“We need to go beyond ‘yellow’ vs ‘DDS (Diehard Duterte Supporters),’” said Sotto, who is part of Aksyon Demokratiko. “As mayor, I will support good programs and remain issue-based.”

Majority with ruling party

PDP-Laban, with six winning candidates, will have the most mayors in Metro Manila over the next three years — Mandaluyong Mayor Menchie Abalos, Pasay Mayor-elect Emi Calixto-Rubiano, Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, Pateros Mayor Ike Ponce, Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro and San Juan Mayor-elect Francis Zamora.

Caloocan Mayor Oscar Malapitan and Taguig Mayor-elect Lino Cayetano are members of the Villar-led NP, while Las Piñas Mayor Imelda Aguilar and Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian belong to NPC.

Serbisyo sa Bayan, the local party started by Quezon City Mayor-elect Joy Belmonte, is allied with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s regional Hugpong ng Pagbabago. Belmonte was previously a Liberal Party (LP) and PDP-Laban member.

Despite the steep decline in its fortunes since former standard bearer and President Benigno Aquino III exited from political life, LP still has two Metro Manila mayors—Jaime Fresnedi and Lenlen Oreta in the cities of Muntinlupa and Malabon, respectively.

Makati Mayor Abby Binay is a member of her family’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), the main opposition party during Aquino’s presidency. Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco’s Partido Navoteño is an UNA affiliate.

Although Aksyon is a national party, it lacks the machinery, money or people needed to make it electorally formidable. It fielded only one candidate for the Senate, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who placed 29th in the unofficial count behind all seven other opposition bets.

Lacking in numbers

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Even after a mass oath-taking ceremony in January, the party had only about 1,000 members nationwide.

Sotto earlier said that he joined Aksyon, founded by the late Sen. Raul Roco, because it was the group most aligned with his principles. The centerpiece of its platform is a push for bills related to Freedom of Information, political dynasties and political party reform.

“We need to fix our electoral rules and create a strong party system,” Sotto said. “That’s the only way we can move from being personality-based to developing parties or coalitions that are ideology-based.”

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TAGS: Metro Manila mayoral candidates, PDP-Laban, Rodrigo Duterte, Vico Sotto
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