DEPUTY Speaker and Cebu 3rd District Rep. Pablo John “PJ” Garcia on Tuesday affirmed his unwavering support to the candidacy of Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso, saying he cannot support Ferdinand Marcos Jr. despite One Cebu’s endorsement.
In another development Tuesday, high-ranking officers of Ikaw-Muna (IM) Pilipinas, a national volunteer organizing network behind Moreno, debunked claims made by a faction that the whole organization is defecting to the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo.
In a prepared statement, Cong. PJ stressed that he is not someone who will abandon a comrade-in-arms mid-battle. “And I am not about to do so now, in the few years left of my political life,” he said.
“I have been officially informed that my party, One Cebu, has endorsed a candidate for President; a choice which, unfortunately, I cannot support,” he said in a statement following One Cebu’s general assembly meeting where the endorsement for the son and namesake of the ousted dictator was made. From the start, I have been clear and consistent about my support for Mayor Isko Moreno’s candidacy for President, believing that he is, among the many choices, the most capable and best prepared to lead the country out of this many-pronged crisis that it now faces, and into the future,” Garcia said.
In fully supporting Moreno, Garcia said Moreno’s track record and brand of leadership best exemplify the ideals he saw in One Cebu’s candidates for Governor and Vice Govenor: “Dili sulti ang pabuhaton; buhat ang pasulti-on”.
This was a reiteration of what Garcia said during Aksyon Demokratiko’s grand proclamation rally last February 8 at the Kartilya ng Katipunan in Manila. “Kaming mga Bisaya, may kasabihan, ‘dili sulti ang pabuhaton, buhat mo ipasulti-on.’ Hindi salita ang gumagawa, ang gawa ang magsasalita,” he said during the grand rally.
Garcia said Filipinos should choose Moreno because he fully believes that Mayor Isko can do to the whole country what he had done in the City of Manila. “Kasi ginawa na niya dito sa Maynila, may pruweba na,” he pointed out.
“Gawa ang nagsasalita para kay Isko Moreno. Kaya malaking karangalan para sa akin na ipinaglalaban ang mayor niyo sa Manila doon sa Cebu,” he said.
Meanwhile, Garcia said he respects One Cebu and its decision, just as he hopes that the party he helped found, and have only the deepest affection for, would respect his choice and direction.
He also assured his party-mates in One Cebu that he will continue to work hard for the victory of all local candidates of the party even as he relinquishes his position as secretary general of the party.
“As I intend to continue actively campaigning for Mayor Isko in the remaining days of the campaign, I am stepping down as Secretary General of One Cebu in order to avoid any conflict of interest,” Garcia said.
Cong. PJ has always accompanied Moreno in the six times that he sortied throughout the province, always introducing the young and charismatic Manila City mayor as the next president of the Republic in every speaking engagement, town hall meeting or rally.
His efforts are more pronounced in Cebu’s 3rd District, which comprises of Toledo City, Aloguinsan, Asturias, Balamban, Barili, Pinamungajan and Tuburan. The district has about 370,000 voters as of 2019, or 12 percent of the total number of voters in Cebu province.
In a hastily-called press conference in their Quezon City office, IM Pilipinas secretary general Philip Piccio maintained that the organization remains solid and firm in pushing for the pro-people programs of Moreno and is reiterating its “commitment to support” the Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate even beyond the May 2022 polls.
“We are maintaining what we have started ever since the day that Yorme Isko has decided to file his candidacy for president… we are still going strong as our members continuous to grow in all regions of the country,” Piccio said.
“We will continue with our progams beyond the May 2022 national polls dahil hindi tumitigil ang pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan upang makatawid sa mga hamon ng araw-araw na buhay… tatapusin natin ang karera kaagapay at kasama ni Yorme Isko Moreno!” he added.
The group’s leaders from various regions of the country are one as they echoed the firm support for Moreno. IM Pilipinas Central Luzon regional head and Pampanga Board Member Jun Canlas said that amid various challenges in the time of political bickering and divisiveness during the campaign season, the group is continuously gaining support from various sectors nationwide as they deliver help to the people at the grassroots level.
“Nararamdaman po natin ang totoong suporta mula sa ating mga kababayan na katulad natin nagnanais na maghalal ng isang pangulong tapat sa tao at ito ay si Yorme Isko Moreno… tuloy-tuloy lang tayo at matatag na magbibigay ayuda sa mga nangangailangan,” IM Pilipinas Region 2 head Sherwin Bariuan said.
Alain James Buque of IM Pilipinas Mindanao said they all want to elect a president who has the right skillset, global competence and most of all solid faith in the Lord.
“All of these are characteristics ni Isko Moreno kaya naman mas lumalago ang mga kasama ko dito sa Mindanao na naka suporta sa kanya,” Buque said.
IM Pilipinas has been actively moving around the country through its IM Pilipinas BilisKilos Mobile Team. Initially focused on 13 areas nationwide, the BilisKilos Mobile Team aims to create impact in high density areas such as public markets, churches, plazas and tourist spots, among others. The team also distributed flyers and recruited more volunteers while playing the official Jingle of Isko Moreno’s Team BilisKilos.
Also on Tuesday, around 50 officers of the Visayas for Isko – Sara Alliance (VISA) signed a manifesto of support, unanimously and fully supporting Mayor Isko for president and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for vice president.
The VISA convenors represent two parallel organization – Marcos Pa Rin (MPR) and Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) – that are both formerly supporting the presidential bid of Marcos Jr.
In the manifesto signed in ceremonies held at the Zuri Hotel in Iloilo City, the VISA convenors said that in these trying times, it is highly imperative for every Filipino to make the best choices in the coming elections.
While Mayor Isko is born, raised and started his public service in Tondo, it cannot be denied that the blood running in his veins is 100 percent Bisaya, as his mother is from Allen, Northern Samar while his father hails from Antique. #