Editor’s Note: This story is based on #WeDecide: First 100 Days, a presidential interview series by Rappler CEO and Nobel laureate Maria Ressa. Watch the full interview with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno airing on Rappler’s social media channels at 7 pm (Manila time) on Tuesday, April 19.
MANILA, Philippines – If Isko Moreno were to win the presidency, his Cabinet would be a mix of personalities currently in, or working with, the Marcos and Robredo campaign teams, he told Rappler CEO Maria Ressa in a one-on-one interview for #WeDecide: First 100 Days.
Moreno has specific people in mind but he declined to name them worrying it would “create animosity.”
“I have somebody in the yellow,” he said in the March 9, 2022 interview that will air on Tuesday, April 19, referring to the Liberal Party and its supporters.
He described this person as someone “key” to the Liberal Party (LP), a male who “brought an industry in the country that our country today continues to enjoy.” Without naming names, campaign insiders told Rappler Moreno might have been referring to a prominent former LP legislator.
Moreno has someone in mind from the Marcos camp, too.
“I have somebody, very old, on the other side, on the red, sa pulahan (among the red group),” said the Manila mayor.
Tapping into private sector competence
Apart from political personalities, Moreno would also invite key executives from certain private corporations to join his Cabinet or head critical government firms.
“I have the people in private sectors, that I would ask them to resign in their corporation because I do believe, ‘Ah, this guy is a finance guy.’ He managed to grow such a corporation,” the 47-year-old presidential bet told Ressa.
One such government corporation that he said would be headed by a former corporate executive is Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). The state insurer has repeatedly faced major controversies, coming under harsh spotlight during the COVID-19 pandemic when hospitals said their operations were hampered by PhilHealth’s failure to pay billions worth of claims.
“We’ll put financial people in PhilHealth. Not doctors, not other career, but financial guys, because it’s money management. It’s not health management, it’s money management,” said Moreno.
In campaign sorties and presidential fora, the Manila mayor has often said he would invite people from all parts of the political spectrum to work for his government. It’s a key aspect of his pitch for a “healing” government.
Presidential race front-runner Ferdinand Marcos Jr. too has made “healing” and “unity” his campaign slogan. But Moreno said he is the best man to carry this out because he doesn’t belong to either of what his camp calls the “polarizing” groups in our current politics – the “warring” factions of Marcos and Robredo.
Moreno said, “‘Yung away naman nila, hindi ako kasali. So, ang gusto ko, akala ko ba gusto mong maglingkod sa taumbayan, kaya mo sinuportahan ‘yung kandidato ni pula? Kaya mo sinuportahan ‘yong kandidato ni yellow-pink? No, let’s come, help me. I cannot do this alone.” In short, Moreno said he is willing to work with anyone.
(Their fight is not my fight. So what I want is, I thought you wanted to serve our countrymen that’s why you supported the candidate of the red camp? That’s why you supported the candidate of the yellow-pink? No, let’s come, help me. I cannot do this alone.)
On Easter Sunday, April 17, Moreno called for the withdrawal of Robredo from the presidential race. He was joined by presidential bets Ping Lacson and Norberto Gonzales. In a joint press conference, the three stressed they were not withdrawing from the race.
Lagging behind Robredo in Pulse Asia’s March survey, Moreno said the Vice President should be the one to withdraw instead. “I’m calling for Leni to withdraw kasi (because) whatever [she’s] doing is not effective against Marcos. Withdraw, come and join us,” the Manila mayor said during the press conference. – Rappler.com