By Franco Luna | The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines — Manila City Mayor and Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer Isko Moreno formally admitted defeat and conceded the presidency Tuesday to former Sen. and election frontrunner Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
"The next administration won't be successful if the resentment and bad blood continue… We need to unite and stand behind the next chosen one by the people," he said in Filipino in a livestreamed press briefing on his Facebook page where he congratulated his electoral counterparts.
"The Filipino won. Let's thank God [that] we have shown the world that democracy in our country remains," he also said. "Let us respect the vote of our fellow people – poor, middle class, rich – they have one vote. Our vote is their vote, it's equal."
During his campaign, it was Moreno who first went on the offensive against the son and namesake of the ousted dictator by bringing up the latter's unpaid P203 billion estate tax at public debates organized by the media and the Commission on Elections.
His camp has gone as far as saying that the billions in taxes would be "lost forever" if Marcos were to win the presidency. He also promised that if elected, he would use that money as ayuda for families most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“With all due respect to Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ‘please pay up. You did not work hard for this estate, you just inherited it,’” he was quoted as saying in an interview with One News in March.
Earlier, Lito Banayo, Moreno's principal campaign strategist said that their camp's lawyers were about to file a case for mandamus in the court of tax appeals to compel the BIR to collect the tax. It is unclear what happened of these plans.
"It is frightening to think that now that he is not president, he is ignoring the law, confronting and answering his alleged lies. What if he is elected?" Aksyon Demokratiko chair Ernest Ramel also wrote in his letters to various government agencies.
"Through his influence and expensive lawyers, Marcos doesn't know how to comply with the government he is running to lead."
But Moreno sang a different tune this time around, urging his supporters to "give the new leadership a chance to let the country have peace."
"Let's recognize each Filipino's right to choose a leader. Let's support the government and follow it's laws and programs because this is our country," he said as he urged his supporters not to get involved in any disorder.
The chief of the capital city — once a garbage collector on the streets of Tondo — said he would dutifully carry out his tasks during the rest of his term as mayor before going back to being "Citizen Isko."