“No preferential treatment for any candidate.”
This was what Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto responded to a supporter of a 2022 presidential aspirant who tweeted him, expressing hope that his city would offer a bigger venue for a campaign rally.
On Sunday, the Twitter user tagged the city chief about the upcoming grand rally of Vice President Leni Robredo, who is visiting different parts of the country to campaign for the highest seat in the land.
“[email protected], sana po sa Campaign Rally ni VP @lenirobredo
dito sa Pasig, medyo malaki ‘yung ibigay niyo pong space. Medyo maliit po kasi if ang gagamitin ‘yung Rizal Plaza sa tapat ng Cathedral or ‘yung Bonifacio Plaza. Beke leng nemen, Mayor,” the user wrote with emojis.
“Wala naman pong malaking space kung gusto nila sa Poblacion area. Walang problema kung mag-overflow, basta may coordination sa TPMO,” Sotto replied, referring to the Traffic and Parking Management office of Pasig.
“The plazas are the same spaces we offer all candidates who want to conduct rallies in Pasig. No preferential treatment for any candidate,” he added.
Sotto’s response, particularly about the aspirants, earned him laudatory comments from local Twitter users who noted his neutral stance.
“Eto dapat lahat ng goverment officials. Kahit na hindi pareho ng pinaniniwalaan o grupo, dapat may respeto,” a Filipino commented.
“‘No preferential treatment for any candidate.’ Ganyan dapat, ‘yung same treatment lang sa lahat ng candidates, hindi ‘yung parang binebenta mo na ‘yung buong lalawigan mo sa iisang kandidato…” another online user said.
Sotto in a flag ceremony on February 28 said that all national candidates for the 2022 elections are welcome to hold campaign-related activities in Pasig.
“Hindi natin tinitingnan ang kulay ng politika, kundi ina-approve lang po. Sa katunayan, ‘pag national candidate, wine-waive pa po natin ‘yung mga fees, care of the City Administrator’s Office natin,” he was quoted as saying before.
No meddling in national politics
Sotto previously said that he will not be involved in national politics, which includes endorsing candidates as other local officials have.
“I know some people may criticize me for not wanting to be involved in national politics. But those people who criticize me for that don’t understand the kind of battles that we are facing here in the local government of Pasig,” he said in an interview last February.
“Hindi biro ‘yung ginagawa namin dito na nililinis namin ang pamahalaan. We have decades-old institutionalized corruption here,” Sotto added.
When he sat office in 2019, Sotto ended the 27-year reign of the Eusebio clan who have dominated Pasig’s politics since 1992.
“It’s really not easy. Kung dadagdagan ko pa, if we’ll try to fight another battle, baka hindi ko na kayanin,” Sotto said.
“‘Yung mga nagsasabi naman noon, hindi naman taga-Pasig. ‘Yung mga taga rito, naiintindihan nila na kailangan mag-focus tayo sa laban natin dito sa Pasig,” he added.
The city chief also said that he already talked to his uncle, vice presidential bet Senate President Tito Sotto III, about him not meddling in national politics.
The elder Sotto is the running mate of Sen. Ping Lacson in the 2022 elections.
One of Lacson’s rivals is presidential bet Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, who is also the standard-bearer of the younger Sotto’s political party, Aksyon Demokratiko.