'Giant slayers' join Aksyon Demokratiko for 2022 polls

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Courtesy: Isko Moreno Domagoso Campaign Team

Manila (CNN Philippines, September 24) — Seventeen years after it last fielded a presidential candidate, Aksyon Demokratiko is once again flexing its political muscle as local officials from Luzon join the party led by its president and standard bearer, Manila mayor Isko Moreno.

A total of 22 local officials - three vice governors, five board members, two mayors, ten vice mayors, and two councilors - have taken their oaths before Moreno.

This came a day after Moreno kicked off his presidential bid alongside Dr. Willie Ong, and after the tandem was endorsed by prominent politicians like Sen. Ralph Recto, Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, and former Senator Serge Osmeña.

Of the 22, six came from the Nacionalista Party, five from the ruling PDP-Laban party, three are independents, two from the National Unity Party, and one each from Lakas-CMD, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, the Liberal Party, and the Nationalist People's Coalition. The other two are from the Sangguniang Kabataan.

The most prominent among this new Aksyon Demokratiko members is Marinduque Vice Governor Romulo Bacorro, Jr., who is expected to challenge incumbent governor Presbitero Velasco, the father of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

"We have different principles with the governor. I cannot dissect more. But I think Aksyon Demokratiko...will give solutions to our problems, especially COVID-19," Bacorro said.

"Naniniwala ako sa prinsipyo nila (I believe in their principles)," he added.

Moreno said he was overwhelmed by the party's new members. "Mukhang nakatsamba ang Aksyon, puro giant killer dito. Manila, Pasig, diba?"

[Translation: It looks like luck is on Aksyon's side. We have giant killers. Look at Manila and Pasig!]

Moreno was referring to the mayoral races in Manila and Pasig in 2019, when he and Aksyon Demokratiko executive vice president Vico Sotto defeated two political giants: former president and Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, and Bobby Eusebio - who ruled Pasig for several years.

Aksyon Demokratiko secretary general Ernest Ramel said all those who joined the party were screened and oriented.

"Sila po, bago namin tinanggap (Before they were accepted), we made sure that they know the principles of the party they are standing on and our core values," Ramel said.

Ramel also claimed more are expected to join Aksyon Demokratiko in the coming days.

The party will welcome applicants from Visayas and Mindanao, according to Moreno.

Aksyon Demokratiko was founded by the late Senator Raul Roco in 1997. Roco ran for president in 2004 but lost to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The party regained prominence in the 2019 midterm elections after Sotto's victory, and after Moreno became party president in August 2021.