Campaign strategist bares Moreno felt insulted, belittled by #WithdrawIsko trend

October 13, 2021 - 4:31 PM
Manila Mayor Francisco 'Isko' Moreno Domagoso speaks during the official announcement of his presidential bid in the 2022 national elections in a poor community in Baseco, Manila, Philippines, September 22, 2021. (Manila Public Information Office/Handout via Reuters)

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso threw a tirade at fellow presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo because he felt insulted by the online calls for him to withdraw from candidacy, according to his campaign strategist.

In an interview with ANC on October 11, Lito Banayo, who leads Moreno’s campaign team, was referring to the #WithdrawIsko online campaign that trended on Twitter after Robredo filed her candidacy on October 7.

RELATED: Anatomy of a speech: Why Robredo’s candidacy announcement is an unusual tearjerker

The next day, on October 8, Moreno criticized the online campaign.

“Karapatan ko rin namang tumakbo di ba? Akala ko ba nagra-rally sila ng demokrasya? Bakit, ‘yung demokrasya ba sila lang ang may-ari?” the local chief executive said in a press conference.

In the interview, Banayo explained that this outburst was triggered by the demand itself for him to withdraw from the presidential race.

He also described this as an “engineered clamor.”

“There was an engineered clamor for ‘withdraw Isko’ which Isko Moreno felt very unfair,” Banayo said.

The campaigner also said that Moreno also felt insulted and belittled at that time even if the calls were only made online.

Banayo recalled that he first observed this reaction from the former actor a month ago.

He shared that they were talking about Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, former House Speaker, who fielded Gov. Edwin Jubahib of Davao del Norte and successfully won against two prominent figures in the province during the 2019 midterm elections.

Jubahib is under the Partido Reporma, the political party Alvarez heads.

One of the staff members who were with them then quipped about Jubahib’s political journey which started from being a former bus conductor.

While the rest of them were amused by it, Banayo sensed that Moreno was agitated.

He quoted the local official’s words, saying: “Kayo naman kung makakantiyaw kayo. ‘Yung katabi niyo basurero lang dati.”

Banayo likened that situation to Moreno’s latest response against those who were calling for him to back down from 2022 presidential race.

“May hugot kasi ‘yan si Isko e na parang bang porke bang maliliit kaming tao, porke ba nanggaling ako sa hirap, meron kayong karapatan na sabihin sakin na mag withdraw ako?” the campaign strategist said.

“Who gave you the right to tell me to withdraw? Dun yung hugot e. Dun ko naintindihan yung kanyang angst,” he added.

When ANC anchor Christian Esguerra pressed if Moreno was insulted by that, Banayo said yes.

“He felt parang ano ba tong mga taong ito na porket ano lang ako…ganon,” he said.

On Moreno’s beef with Robredo

Robredo previously mentioned Moreno’s stance on the Marcos family partially helped her decide to run for the presidency.

While she did not provide further details on this, Robredo only described the Marcos family as “non-negotiables” for her.

Although she said nothing more against Moreno, the mayor still condemned the vice president’s remarks.

He then tried to remove himself from the supposed rivalry between the Aquino and the Marcos family.

“Bakit ba tuwing eleksyon sila ang bida? Puwede bang Pilipino naman ang bida?” he said.

Some Filipinos later surmised that Moreno was not part of the opposition from the beginning.

“A day after Leni Robredo painted the town pink, Isko Moreno has revealed his true colors. His decision to side with the Marcoses, use Duterte’s rhetoric, and bash Leni of all people has disqualified him from being part of the opposition,” one Twitter user said.

“Not Isko pulling tantrums because of Leni but refuses to say anything about the Marcoses and Duterte, he was never part of the opposition from the start,” another online user said.

Another online user, meanwhile, pointed out why Moreno’s response on downplaying Marcos’ crimes was effective.

“Friends, this is an effective response. We absolutely hate it pero hindi tayo ang market. The messaging of Isko is clear and consistent on this: ‘Ako ang kandidato ng ordinaryong Pilipino. Hindi ako nandito para sa away-bata, but for real service,’” the Twitter user wrote.