Moreno, Ong get 1M vote commitment in Batangas

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Lipa City, Batangas (CNN Philippines, October 15) – The tandem of Manila Mayor and presidential aspirant Isko Moreno and his running mate Dr. Willie Ong on Friday secured the commitment of a key political ally in the vote-rich province of Batangas, which they believe will give them an edge in the 2022 elections.

Moreno and Ong attended the convention of local party One Batangas, headed by senator and Batangas 6th district representative aspirant Ralph Recto.

Recto said with the help of One Batangas, Moreno and Ong will get "at least 750,000 to 1 million" votes from the province. 2019 data from the Commission on Elections showed there are over 1.7 million registered voters Batangas.

"Wala akong kaduda-duda (No doubt) that Batangas will deliver votes for Mayor Isko," Recto said.

One Batangas has majority of the province's top local officials under its wing. Its members are from the Nacionalista Party, the Nationalist People's Coalition, and Moreno's party Aksyon Demokratiko.

Despite their show of support for Moreno, Recto said other aspirants are welcome to campaign in the province.

Moreno thanked local officials in his speech, but also criticized those who he said are focusing too much on political bickering.

"Hindi namin intensyong tumakbo dahil galit kami sa kaaaway nito - dapat pag kaaway niya, kaaway din namin. Hindi po, away pulitika lang yan. Di po makukuha ang solusyon sa pagpapalit ng kulay lamang, di mo yan mareresolba," Moreno said.

[Translation: We are not running because we are angry at their political opponents. We were told their enemy should be our enemy too. That's just political bickering. We cannot solve things just by changing colors.]

Moreno did not name names but appeared to be alluding to Vice President Leni Robredo, who wore pink when she filed her candidacy for president. There was no yellow - the color associated with the Liberal Party.

Robredo had also said Moreno's stance on the Marcos family was among the reasons that pushed her to run for the highest post in the land. On Friday, the Vice President shrugged off the string of attacks against her by Moreno.

"Magpapaka-gentleman na lang ako," Robredo said during the announcement of her senatorial slate. "Ayoko nang pumatol. Mas malaki yung mga problema natin, tingin ko wala naman tong papupuntahan. Gaya ng sabi ko, hindi lang kay Mayor Isko. Ang dami kong nilapitan, para maghanap ng avenue na magkaisa," she added.

[Translation: I'll just be a gentleman. I don't want to comment further on this. We have bigger problems now and this won't lead to anywhere. I reached out to many people in a bid to find avenues for unity - not just to Mayor Isko.]

Moreno, meanwhile, said the local government "followed health protocols and exercised due diligence" in the conduct of the One Batangas convention.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government earlier said it is already looking into the mass gatherings attended by some presidential aspirants in Batangas for possible health protocol violations.

Aside from Moreno, fellow presidential hopeful Senator Manny Pacquiao also visited Batangas, where he handed out cash and grocery items to residents and supporters.