Manila mayor voted president of Aksyon Demokratiko party

MANILA Mayor Francisco M. Domagoso

A FORMER showbiz matinee idol who is now the mayor of Manila has been elected president of Aksyon Demokratiko.

Manila Mayor Francisco M. Domagoso was elected president of the party founded by the late Senator Raul S. Roco at a meeting on Aug. 10, party chairman Ernest M. Ramel, Jr. said in a statement on Thursday.

“Prior to his membership and eventual election as party president, Aksyon Demokratiko and Mayor Isko had a meeting of minds and hearts in many aspects,” he said.

Mr. Ramel said the party and Mr. Domagoso, who is believed to be running for president next year, agreed on several issues including on the coronavirus response and addressing joblessness during the pandemic.

“We also agreed on the rule of law, focusing on education, housing and health care,” he added.

The group said Pasig Mayor Victor Ma. Regis N. Sotto kept his post as executive vice president, while Concepcion, Tarlac Mayor Andres Lacson was elected vice chairman. Former National Youth Commission chairman Leon Flores III was elected secretary-general.

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, uncle of the Pasig mayor earlier said he would run for vice president at the elections next year in tandem with Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, his presidential mate.

Mr. Domagoso last week resigned as a member and vice chairman of the National Unity Party, which was formed by ex-party mates of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, after it supported the possible presidential bid of Davao City Mayor Sara Dutere-Carpio, President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s daughter.

Mr. Duterte on Monday night mocked Mr. Domagoso who’s been doing well in election polls, for the alleged disorder at his city’s vaccination sites.

The tough-talking leader, alluding to Mr. Domagoso — also known by his screen name Isko Moreno — ridiculed him for his past as a sexy actor. He should not become Philippine President, he added.

Before his stint in showbusiness, Mr. Domagoso was a scavenger and pedicab driver in one of the most populated districts in the Philippine capital.

The mayor had done well in polls on voters’ preferences for presidential and vice-presidential candidates, placing second to Ms. Carpio and Mr. Duterte, who earlier said he might run for vice-president next year.

The President said he would strip the city of its power to distribute government cash aid for the alleged chaos.

Sought for comment, Mr. Domagoso instead shared a certificate issued by the Interior and Local Government department two months ago praising his performance in distributing cash aid.

In 2010, Aksyon Demokratiko endorsed the presidential bid of Mr. Duterte’s predecessor, the late Benigno S.C. Aquino III.

The party supported the 2016 presidential run of Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares, who lost to Mr. Duterte.

The party, which was founded in 1997, became the vehicle of Mr. Roco for his presidential bid in the 1998 elections where he lost to Joseph Estrada.

Mr. Domagoso earlier said Manila’s vaccination registration site was attacked by bots a day before chaos ensued in the city’s vaccination hubs.

He said the cyber-attack could be part of a grand plan to discredit his leadership.

In a report, Manila City said the attack was meant to make it difficult for people to register for vaccination.

Mr. Domagoso traced the chaotic vaccinations in some of the capital’s inoculation sites to “agitators” sent by people with political motives. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza