Sen. Recto, Deputy Speaker Garcia back Isko Moreno presidential bid
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, and House Deputy Speaker and Cebu 3rd District Rep. Pablo John “PJ” Garcia on Tuesday endorsed Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso as a leader who lets his “actions and accomplishments do the talking” as they strongly urged voters to elect the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer as the next president of the country.
Recto, who heads One Batangas, and Garcia, the secretary-general of One Cebu, made their respective pitches for Moreno during Tuesday’s proclamation rally of the national candidates of Aksyon Demokratiko at the Kartilya ng Katipunan beside the Manila City Hall.
In endorsing Moreno, Recto admitted that the 47-year-old local chief executive would have been the last presidential candidate he would choose had self-interest been the basis of his decision since the Manila mayor was not one of his closest friends.
“Sa lahat ng aplikante sa pagka-pangulo, sa totoo lang, si Isko ang huli kong nakilala at pinakamalayo kong kaibigan. Kung pangsariling interes lang ang aking iisipin, siya ang huli kong susuportahan,” he said in a video message.
“Subalit naniniwala ako, na sa pagpili po ng ating lider, may mas mahalagang batayan — bayan bago barkada at katropa, plataporma hindi drama, record na nagawa at hindi listahan ng pangako. Hindi doon sa liyamado pero doon sa sigurado at tunay ang serbisyo,” said Recto.
Recto, who has earlier said that One Batangas is supporting Moreno because he possesses “the training, skills, experience and leadership to be an outstanding president,” said the leadership qualities of Mayor Isko became apparent during the present pandemic, which has served as a practicum and a big audition for presidential aspirants.
“Ang pandemya ang tumimbang ng kanilang kakayahan. Siya din ang bumuking kung sino ang may kulang,” he said.
Recto pointed to that Moreno was the only one who built the largest Covid-19 field hospital in the country with a 344-bed capacity in just 52 days; the only local chief executive to stock up on life-saving drugs like Remdecivir and Molnupiravir and freely gave them to whoever needs it where ever he may come from; and the only one to build a state-of-the-art modern medical center in the Bagong Ospital ng Maynila.
He also noted that Mayor Isko was the first to establish a large number of free testing sites, refurbish all local government unit hospitals to be ready for Covid patients, a continuous distribution of “ayuda,” and housing for the poor, among others.
“Madali pong maglubid ng kwento at magtagpi-tagpi ng pangako. Pero iba si Isko. Siya ay tumatakbo sa lakas ng mga proyektong nagawa niya, mga pasilidad na hindi drawing pa lang, kundi gumagana na, mga bagay na nakatayo na, at nag bibigay ginhawa, hindi binabalak pa lang. Ang iba namimigay pa lang ng promisory note. Kay Isko may resibo na,” said Recto.
“Sa sandaling panahon, naipakita niya ang lideratong hindi makupad at hindi tamad. Matagal na tayong nagaantay ng isang lider na may tunay na solusyon at mabilis umaksyon,” he added.
Recto said Filipinos should choose Moreno because he fully believes that Mayor Isko can do to the whole country what he had done in the City of Manila.
“Nagawa niya sa buhay niya, nagawa niya sa Lungsod ng Maynila, at magagawa niya sa buong Pilipinas. Nananawagan ako sa inyo, ikampanya niyo sa inyong mga kaibigan, kamag-anak at kapitbahay na iboto sa darating na Mayo, Isko Moreno Domagoso sa pagka-pangulo ng Bagong Pilipinas,” he said.
Recto’s endorsement carries a lot of weight in vote-rich Batangas where five out of six district representatives, including all 12 provincial board members and most of the province’s mayors, vice mayors and councilors are members of One Batangas. The province had 1.7 million registered voters last 2019.
Garcia echoed Recto’s endorsement, saying Moreno’s success in rising up from abject poverty to become the mayor of the premier city of the Philippines is one that is unique and exceptional in all aspects.
“Halos imposible ang linampasan niyang hirap na dinaanan. Kaya siguro nang maging mayor siya, una niyang binigyan ng solusyon ang hirap na dinaanan niya dito sa Maynila,” Garcia noted.
He pointed how he built quality housing buildings like Tondominium for Manila’s homeless, 10-story airconditioned public school buildings for poor students, a world-class hospital for the poor and rich alike, and jobs “sa lahat ng may tiyaga.”
Garcia said “Yorme” did all this so that the Isko Moreno of today, those who are growing up in poverty like him before, will now find it possible to uplift their lives and succeed like him.
Like Recto, Garcia also firmly believes that Moreno can replicate what he did in Manila throughout the Philippines. “Kasi ginawa na niya dito sa Maynila, may pruweba na,” he pointed out.
Garcia likewise stressed that Moreno’s love for the poor and the helpless is not confined to the boundaries of Manila as proven by recent calamitous events in Cebu City.
He related that when a fire broke out in the slums of Barangay Mambaling in Cebu City last November and displaced almost 1,000 families, Moreno immediately went to Cebu City the following day and without much fanfare, shelled out P10,000 for each family from his own pocket.
And after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette last December, Moreno again immediately went to Cebu at the first available flight he can get to bring assistance to typhoon victims. And just like what he did in November, he did it without the eyes of media following him.
“Kaming mga Bisaya, may kasabihan, ‘dili sulti ang pabuhaton, buhat mo ipasultion.’ Hindi salita ang gumagawa, ang gawa ang magsasalita,” Garcia said.
“Gawa ang nagsasalita para kay Isko Moreno. Kaya malaking karangalan para sa akin na ipinaglalaban ang mayor niyo sa Manila doon sa Cebu,” he said.
The endorsement of the Garcia’s is crucial to Moreno as One Cebu is the dominant local political party in the most vote-rich province in the Philippines with more than 3.2 million as of September 2021.
As secretary-general of One Cebu, Garcia may have already done that.