(UPDATE) Manila Mayor Isko Moreno sees no "sense of betrayal" from fellow presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos as he spared the son of the late dictator from attacks he has recently been directing toward Vice President Leni Robredo, his campaign manager said Thursday.
There were no attempts from Marcos or his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio to talk or even discuss politics with Moreno, campaign manager Lito Banayo told ANC.
Moreno has accused Robredo's camp of persistently calling for other presidential candidates, including him, to withdraw from the May 9 elections. He also claimed the vice president repeatedly said she would not run for president when she was calling for unification among presidential candidates.
"So walang sense of betrayal si Isko on these people. Kaya ang nilalabas namin legitimate issues: the P203 billion estate tax, the refusal to be interviewed," Banayo said when asked about Moreno's attitude towards Marcos.
"These are legitimate issues. Kaya lang wala ngang personal encounters at all," he added.
During an Easter Sunday press conference, Moreno called on Robredo to make the "supreme sacrifice" and withdraw from the presidential race.
Presidential candidates Panfilo Lacson and Norberto Gonzales, who were in the same press conference, and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who was also supposed to attend, have since denied that the event was meant to call for Robredo's withdrawal.
Netizens, however, noticed how the three candidates present criticized Robredo during the press conference and seemed to spare Marcos, who is leading in the surveys. Lacson maintained that the press conference was not "anti-Leni."
Banayo said Moreno's recent statements could be borne out of the feeling of being insulted, himself coming from a poor background.
"The guy has been through the school of hardknocks, he pulled himself from the bootstraps from abject poverty. Ganun siya e. He feels na masyadong iniinsulto yung pagkatao niya," Banayo said.
"Parang niyurakan mo yung dignidad ng tao, that is how he feels. And I'm not about to stop the guy when he tells it as it is. Yun yung galing puso niya. Yun yung cri de coeur, so to speak, ni Isko," he added.
Despite the criticisms, Moreno maintained his call for Robredo to withdraw, saying that he was giving her supporters a "taste of their own medicine."
"Uulitin ko ulit: Withdraw, Leni. Don't be a bully. Opinyon ko yun," he said. "I will not let go, bully kayo and it has to stop."
Robredo maintained that she would not withdraw from the race, saying that there are bigger fights to win than Moreno's challenge.
"Hindi ko siya papatulan. Dahil hindi naman ito simpleng laban lang naming dalawa. Laban ito ng bayan natin. May mas malaking laban na kailangan nating panalunin," she said in an ambush interview with reporters. --- with report from Pia Regalado.