Aksyon Demokratiko: Duterte's remarks vs Isko 'below the belt,' 'uncalled for'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 11) — The new party of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno defended him against President Rodrigo Duterte's comments about his background, as political tension brews between the two.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Wednesday, Aksyon Demokratiko Party Secretary General Ernest Ramel said that the clues which Duterte left about a supposedly "disorganized" mayor all point to Moreno, especially when personal tirades about his background in show business were brought up.

"Although the President did not name, he talked about the background of the mayor in the past. I think of all the NCR mayors, si Mayor Isko lang naman ang may ganung background or ganoong nakaraan (only Mayor Isko has that background)," he said, noting that such remakrs should not have been brought up in a public avenue amid the ongoing health crisis.

"Probably tama naman ang ibang netizens to say na it’s below the belt. For us it’s really uncalled for na ganoon ang kanyang tirada," Ramel added.

[Translation: Probably the netizens are right to say that it's below the belt. For us, such tirades are really uncalled for.]

Duterte also questioned the unnamed mayor's leadership due to his provocative photos in the past and claimed the mayor received a "call boy training" — a criticism which many believed to be pointing to Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, who was previously an actor. Malacañang denied this assumption.

READ: Duterte strips one Metro Manila LGU of authority to distribute cash aid due to 'disorganized mayor' 

The political tension between Duterte and Moreno has become more evident over the past days, after thousands of Manila residents flocked to vaccination sites for fear that they will not be allowed to go out or get their cash aid if they refuse their COVID-19 shots. Moreno said "somebody's" statements triggered such panic among people, apparently alluding to Duterte.

READ: Misinformation drives mob to vaccination sites in NCR on eve of lockdown 

Duterte on July 29 warned unvaccinated persons to avoid going out, directing local authorities to escort the "spreaders" back to their homes. The country's vaccine supply, however, remains unstable, leaving millions of people outside of the priority sectors unvaccinated.

Robredo: All eyes on the surge

Vice President Leni Robredo said in a statement that the government must go "all in" when it comes to its pandemic response instead of politicking.

"All-in dapat tayo sa pagtugon sa krisis na ito. All eyes on the surge. Saka na kayo mag-ungkatan ng past," she said.

[Translation: We should go all-in in responding to the crisis. All eyes on the surge. Bring up the past some other time.]