Grace Poe was Isko Moreno's First Choice for VP, Strategist Says

The slot eventually went to Doc Willie Ong.
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano/Courtesy of Sen. Grace Poe

Senator Grace Poe was Manila Mayor Isko Moreno's first choice for vice president, with the running mate slot eventually going to a popular doctor on social media, the strategist of his presidential campaign said Wednesday.

Poe "didn't agree principally" to be Moreno's running mate, Banayo told ANC. Poe ran for president in 2016, with Moreno in her senatorial lineup. Both lost.

"Hindi naman tinatago na talagang first choice namin si Grace Poe. We tried very hard. Several meetings, even Zoom meetings with her when she was out of the country," Lito Banayo, Moreno's campaign strategist, told ANC.

According to Banayo, one possible reason that Poe didn't accept their offer was because of her family's personal relationship with Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who has declared his intention to run for vice president.

Sotto served as the campaign manager of Poe's father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., when he ran for president in the 2004 elections.

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"So what do we do then? We didn't want to enter into a political marriage. Yung marriage of convenience ba? Yung, okay, popular si ganito, okay,  taga-Mindanao si ganito, pero magkakasundo ba tayo?" Banayo said.

"Number two, maipagkakatiwala ba natin ang isang sektor sa taong yun? Yung mga ganung question," he added.

Banayo said Moreno chose Ong as his running mate because he believes the medical doctor could help in the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moreno is set to formally announce his presidential bid in an event in Basecommunity in Manila, along with Ong as his vice presidential running mate.

Poe was one of the nominees of the 1Sambayan opposition coalition to be a standard bearer in the 2022 elections. At the time of her nomination, she said she had no plans of running for president next year.

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