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Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno on Sunday, October 17, came out in the open about his support for the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo.
Moreno said this as he confirmed to Rappler he had a closed door meeting with Robredo at city hall on October 16.
Robredo was in the city to help in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout and meet with a group of volunteers and local key figures, including Moreno and Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Emeritus Antonio Ledesma and Archbishop Jose Cabantan.
“She asked for my support which I gave her when she ran for vice president in 2016,” Moreno told Rappler in an exclusive interview.
Moreno is the first local chief executive in Mindanao known to have aired his support for the opposition leader, a week after she declared her decision to seek the presidency and filed her certificate of candidacy for president.
Moreno, who is serving his third and final office term, was a key Mindanao official of the Liberal Party (LP) who joined the administration Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) after the 2016 elections.
He has filed his COC for Misamis Oriental governor, a position he held for nine years before he was elected as Cagayan de Oro’s mayor in 2013, under the Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives (Promdi).
Incidentally, the Cebu-based Promdi has fielded another presidential aspirant, Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Moreno said he filed his COC under Promdi on the advice of Senator Aquilino Pimentel III because of a legal dilemma facing the party’s members as a result of internal squabbles over the group’s leadership.
Moreno is closely associated with Pimentel, whose late father and namesake Aquilino Jr. founded the originally anti-Marcos PDP in 1982. The elder Pimentel had been Moreno’s political ally and even supported the latter’s mayoral bid in 2013 and his subsequent reelection campaign.
“I decided to file under Promdi because I thought she (Robredo) was going to run for governor in her province,” Moreno said.
With his support for Robredo, Moreno said he was aware that he could lose his Promdi nomination and end up as an independent candidate in next year’s elections.
He said many other politicians have found themselves in situations similar to his because major political parties have been “successfully marginalized” in the last five years.
With the elections seven months away, Moreno said he was leaning toward the opposition although he was trying to maintain a harmonious working relationship with the Duterte administration in order to effectively perform his tasks as a local chief executive.
“But everything is still fluid. Anything can still happen. Leni could even slide down, depending on the unification talks. But based on the way things are today and if she pursues her presidential bid, my inclination is to be with her as I did when she ran for vice president,” said Moreno. – Rappler.com