Two key figures left the incipient presidential campaign of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso Wednesday, with former vice president Noli de Castro backing away from his bid to return to the Senate under the banner of Moreno’s Aksyon Demokratiko.
On the same day, Domago’s chief of staff Cesar Chavez confirmed he, too, was resigning.
Both men said they wished to stay in broadcasting.
“I submitted my candidacy to the Comelec last Friday, but there has been a change of plan,” De Castro said in Filipino, announcing his decision to no longer run for the Senate.
“I wish to inform my friends and supporters who were preparing to help me that I have decided not to push through with my candidacy,” he added.
The former vice president and former senator said he realized he would be of great help to the public by continuing his profession in broadcast journalism.
“[T]his does not change my goal for the country. While praying to the Nazarene, I realized I would be of greater help to the public if I stay in the field of broadcasting,” said De Castro, who was included in the senatorial slate of Domagoso’s Aksyon Demokratiko.
Dismissing rumors of an internal squabble, Chavez said he quit as Moreno’s chief of staff because he wanted to go back to broadcasting.
“No infighting,” Chavez said. His resignation took effect on Oct. 1, the first day of COC filing.
Chavez, who worked with Domagoso after his election as mayor in 2019, said he merely wanted to return to radio broadcasting.
Domagoso said the reason given to him by Chavez had something to do with health and family.
“I don’t interfere when it comes to family. I respect that,” Domagoso said in a media forum.
Domagoso’s political strategist and campaign manager Angelito Banayo debunked reports that Chavez’s resignation was triggered by tension between the mayor’s long-time team and his newly formed presidential campaign team.
“They’re giving too much color into Cesar’s return to MBC-dzRH. To the bashers and those creating intrigues, stop spreading rumors and intrigues,” Banayo said.
Banayo said he was present when Chavez told the Manila mayor in September that since a vice president of the Manila Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) was resigning, he was offered a promotion.
MBC handles radio station dzRH, where Chavez has a radio program.
Banayo remembered telling Chavez that it was a great opportunity, to which Domagoso agreed.
“I said that’s a great opportunity and the mayor said it would be a good career move since he really loves being a broadcast journalist. Cesar has been an outstanding and intrepid radio announcer since the Cory Aquino days, which was when we became good friends,” Banayo said.
“The return to MBC-DZRH of Cesar Chavez, who is not only a friend, but also my godson in marriage, is very intriguing,” said Banayo in a statement sent by Aksyon Demokratiko.
He also said that he and Chavez have been friends for a very long time, as he had recommended the radioman to various posts.
De Castro thanked Domagoso and the entire political party for having trust and confidence in him and for helping him since he took oath as a member.
Reacting to De Castro’s decision, Domagoso said they respect De Castro’s decision. “In truth, when my team was convincing him to run once more for the Senate, he contemplated it for a long time,” Domagoso said.
“We respect his decision to forego his re-entry into national politics, and wish him well because we know that he will continue to have the best interests of our people, as the Pambansang Kabayan, in his heart,” the mayor said.
Ernest Ramel, chairman of Aksyon Demokratiko, said despite De Castro’s withdrawal from the senatorial race, he remains a member of the party and his views and opinion will always be considered.
“The former vice-president will continue to be a member of Aksyon Demokratiko and we will continue to consult with him having vast experience in public service and his dedication to the welfare of the Filipinos. We are saddened by his decision but we wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” Ramel said.
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