Aksyon Demokratiko: From group that could fit in a pedicab to a political party to reckon with in 2022


Political parties in the Philippines can be likened to a bus plying along Edsa. During rush hour, buses are filled with passengers. But during non-peak hours, one can even sleep on the vacant seats.

The Aksyon Demokratiko party is no exception. Since the double defeat of its founder and standard bearer the late former Senator Raul Roco in the 1998 and 2004 presidential elections, the party has been likened to a pedicab that can seat only two to three passengers.

But 18 years later, Aksyon Demokratiko now boasts of more than 4,000 members and now has a “winnable” presidential bet in the person of 47-year-old Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso.

It was party chairman Ernest Ramel who used the “pedicab” as an object for comparison to Aksyon Demokratiko, who has no viable presidential bet since Roco, who died of cancer in August 2005.

While Aksyon Demokratiko may be a pedicab compared to bigger and older political groups, party president and standard bearer Mayor Isko Moreno said its members have nothing to worry about.

“Sabi ng aming chairman, kami po ay sidecar candidate. Wag po kayong mag-alala, specialty ko po magmaneho ng sidecars. Hindi ko po kayo ilulubak,” Moreno a former sidecar driver in Tondo, Manila, had said in his usual joking manner.

“Puro giant killer dito…. Tingnan ninyo sa Manila at sa Pasig. Naniniwala ako na walang grabang nakakapuwing puro buhangin lang,” said Moreno, referring to his 2019 victory over former President Joseph Estrada and former policeman Alfredo Lim.

Mayor Vico Sotto, on the other hand, won the mayoralty race in 2019 and ended the dynastic reign of the Eusebio clan in Pasig City. Sotto is the party’s executive vice president.

In 2016, Aksyon Demokratiko only had 400 members nationwide and “that number was further reduced before the 2019 midterm elections,” recalled Ramel.

“I think at the start, there were people who were joining, the younger ones, because of Mayor Vico, but when Mayor Isko came in, ang daming nagpapahayag na gusto namin sumali then eventually when we elected him president and eventually when he declared, there were more,” said Ramel.

With Mayor Isko’s numbers consistently going up based on survey results of various polling firms, Aksyon Demokratiko had a windfall in terms of candidates wanting to join the party.

As of latest count, Aksyon Demokratiko issued some 4,000 Certificates of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) which means that party membership has registered a geometric increase and the party is no longer a pedicab but an MRT needing additional train cars.

As of September 30, about 50 local government officials from different parts of Luzon took oath before Mayor Isko as the political party continues to consolidate local support days before the filing of candidacies for the 2022 national elections.

Most of these new members are incumbent officials from Luzon who are seeking to challenge administration-backed candidates in their respective bailiwicks.

“The days after Isko declared [his intention to run for president], talagang bumuhos. We think there will be more [new memberships] even after we issue the CONAs,” Ramel said.

Among the recent additions to Aksyon Demokratiko are former Lakas-CMD official Dr. Willie Ong, former Otso Diretso candidate Samira Gutoc, former Quezon City Liberal Party chairman Jopet Sison and former Liberal Party member Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, who was Mar Roxas’ campaign spokesman when he ran for president under the LP in 2016.

Image courtesy of CNN

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