(Note: This is a revised version of an original post at Conservative Philippines, JP Abecilla’s now-deleted political Facebook page.)
Many folks wondered why a strict conservative like me endorsed Former Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso during the presidential election of 2022. Moreno was accused of being an NPA because of a photo with Joma Sison and signed a SOGIE ordinance in the country’s capital. However, for me, Moreno is neither a liberal nor a conservative, let alone a leftist. He is a centrist gambit.
Longtime followers of our previous page, #ConservativePH, know how we have publicly demonstrated our disappointment and disagreement against the SOGIE ordinance. This is despite the fact that I have been a supporter of Domagoso since his senatorial candidacy in the #Election2016. Despite being a resident and voter of Cebu City, I also supported the mayoral candidacy of Isko in the #Election2019 in Manila City.
A Short Voting History
Historically, I supported the presidential bid of former Sen. Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party (NP) in 2010. NP is supposed to be the top conservative party in the Philippines.
I started supporting a centrist-reformist candidate in 2016 when I endorsed the late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago of the People’s Reform Party for president. At that time, Domagoso was one of the adopted senatorial candidates of the Santiago-Marcos tandem. Both of these centrist and reformist figures (Santiago and Domagoso) didn’t win the election. Bongbong Marcos, who was a candidate from the conservative NP, lost the vice presidency as well.
A Conservative Background
Before filing his presidential bid for #Election2022, Domagoso joined a center-left political party, the Aksyon Demokratiko of the late Sen. Raul Roco. This is one of the bases of some conservatives in tagging Isko as a progressive leftist. However, within 23 years in politics, Isko has been a part of conservative parties, both local and national, like Nacionalista (or NP) and NUP.
Last year, Aksyon Demokratiko claimed that they took a centrist approach in adopting Pres. Rody Duterte in their senatorial lineup. Duterte is a self-acclaimed leftist and socialist politician from a left-wing party, the PDP-Laban. Nonetheless, Duterte withdrew his senatorial candidacy later on.
After announcing the plan of endorsing Duterte, liberals tried to push their allegation that Domagoso is just a Manchurian candidate. This is due to the fact that Lito Banayo is the campaign strategist of Domagoso. Banayo was the same person behind the successful election campaign of Duterte in 2016. However, he also served the administrations of presidents Corazon Aquino, Joseph Estrada, and Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino. This alone proves that Banayo is not exclusively a Duterte person.
Isko Moreno As a Centrist
Isko Moreno is also joined by Doc Willie Ong, a former member of the conservative party Lakas-CMD, to be his vice president. Liberal figure and civic leader Samira Gutoc also run with Aksyon Demokratiko for a second attempt at the senatorial race. Atty. Jopet Sison, who has lots of conservative principles, also entered the race with Aksyon.
As a centrist, Moreno has multicolored stances on social, political, and religious issues. Despite the SOGIE Ordinance in the City of Manila, Yorme Isko is still against same-sex marriage and abortion. He also believes that the local government units (LGUs) should be strengthened to quickly mobilize economic progress. In addition, he also supports opening more foreign direct investments.
Weak System and Practices
Because of the weak system in the country, political parties are commonly composed of political butterflies carrying multi-faceted political ideologies. Nonetheless, neither the parties nor the politicians should be blamed. The decaying system and the erroneous electoral practices are the real culprits.
The Philippines requires a complete political reform in the Constitution and the electoral process to strengthen our political parties and reduce or prevent political butterflies.
Despite supporting a centrist candidate for the second time now, I continue to stand and fight for our Filipino traditions and Judeo-Christian values. Like the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the Conservative Party warned the centrists decades ago, I also believe that “Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.”