Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, a supporter of Vice President Leni Robredo, on Friday urged presidential aspirant and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso to move on from his repeated calls for Vice President Leni Robredo to withdraw from the presidential race.
Moreno, the Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer, said he has been “at the receiving end of incessant bashing” which only encouraged him to “fight harder for ordinary Filipinos whose rights and welfare have long been trampled upon by the elitist politics.”
Rodriguez said “the proposed pullout of VP Leni from the election for president is a non-issue in the first place. She is a strong candidate and she has the best chances of overtaking the survey frontrunner.”
The lawmaker, who represents Cagayan de Oro’s second district, said Robredo’s campaign has been gathering momentum as evidenced by the large crowds attending her rallies.
Moreno made the call in an Easter Sunday press conference together two other presidential aspirants—Sen. Panfilo Lacson and former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales.
The Manila mayor, who has subsequently repeated his appeal, said it was in response to a similar plea he claimed Robredo had made for him to withdraw from the presidential contest.
However, Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said on Thursday the vice president has not urged any presidential candidate to pull out.
Rodriguez said Gutierrez’s statement “should put the issue to rest.”
“I believe VP Leni’s spokesperson. It’s not in her character to call on any of her opponent to back out and give way to her. She’s a very
respectful, circumspect and very proper person,” he said.
He said if Moreno made the withdraw-call “to generate publicity for his campaign, he has already accomplished his goal.”
“But it is negative publicity, judging from the flak he has been getting. Even those who were in the press conference with him have dissociated themselves from his statement. In fact, Secretary Gonzales has even apologized to VP Leni for his presence there,” he said.
Moreno meanwhile said “I don’t know what caused my emotions to burn, this is what happened in Rizal. Here I fought the battle of the ordinary Filipino. The bullying of the yellow-pink is too much. Too out of place.”
“So my countrymen, those people, I am even more encouraged to continue . . . to continue your fight. Compatriots, join me. Let’s end the long fight of red and yellow. If you have experienced bullying, if you have experienced hurtful words from high-ranking people, come with me, we will fight them,” Moreno said, to loud cheers from the fired-up crowd from the so-called “silent majority.”