Presidential bet Isko Moreno, who called on Vice-president Leni Robredo to withdraw from the race to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this month, saw his running mate Dr. Willie Ong not only disagreeing with the call for Robredo to withdraw from the elections.
Ong also spoke well of the Vice-president.
In a video message on his Facebook page, Ong said: “Should VP Leni withdraw? For me, no. She should push through. Everyone should push through. No one should stop them.”
Ong also said: “My honest view of VP Leni? She’s a lawyer. She’s good, great at answering questions. Smart.”
Ong also said that his view on most matters hewed closely to those of the Vice-president’s policy.
In the 25 questions asked of the presidential bets by television reporter Jessica Soho, Ong said he totally agreed with all of Robredo’s answers but disagreed with Moreno on four of the 25.
He, however, added that he remained “100 percent” behind Moreno. Ong added that his running mate’s opinion on Robredo’s withdrawal was his own personal take and did not reflect the thinking of their party, Aksyon Demokratiko.
After apparently apologizing for his call and saying his emotions had gotten the better of him, Moreno resumed his verbal attacks over the weekend by insisting that the followers of Robredo were “bullies” and the Vice-president herself had a condescending attitude towards the poor.
Moreno’s followers accused her of having a lavish lifestyle but this has been disproven by independent fact checkers.
While four of the five major presidential candidates – Moreno, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Manny Pacquiao, and Ping Lacson – live in the most exclusive villages of Forbes Park in Makati and Ayala Alabang, Robredo lives in a rented two-bedroom condominium owned by her in-laws.
Moreno also lost a big chunk of the Muslim vote when the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – which had previously leaned towards the Manila mayor – endorsed Robredo instead.
The MILF had previously shied away from endorsing candidates for national positions. The Front is the biggest Islamic group in the country, overtaking the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) headed by Nur Misuari.
Bangsamoro chief minister Ahod Ebrahim said in a recent meeting that they were “looking forward for the Vice-president to be our next president in order to achieve the continuity we need for the implementation of the peace process.”
As a member of the House of Representatives, Robredo co-authored the Bangsamoro Basic Law that created the new Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, led by the MILF. It replaced the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which created a smaller region and which was headed by the MNLF’s Misuari.
The MILF’s United Bangsamoro Justice Party endorsed Robredo even after four governors had earlier endorsed Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Misuari had earlier appeared to endorse Manny Pacquiao but later said he and his organization were remaining neutral in the presidential race.
Despite his constant verbal attacks against her, Moreno took the time to greet Robredo on her birthday last April 23. He said that he knew the Vice-president was “in a good place.”
Robredo held her biggest rally ever on her birthday, with an estimated crowd of 420,000 attending her event near the Mall of Asia.
Organizers claimed it was the single biggest political rally in the country in decades.
The biggest rally of all time remains the one million attendees at the late Cory Aquino’s rally prior to the snap elections of 1986.