IM Pilipinas follows its Visayas and Zamboanga chapters passing to Vice President Leni Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — A first national group of volunteers from Isko Moreno followed her chapters by moving on to Vice President Leni Robredo, announcing her decision on Tuesday, April 12.
Ikaw Muna (IM) Pilipinas, led by former transportation undersecretary Tim Orbos, prepared to hold a press conference in Quezon City, along with the group’s general secretary, Elmer Argaño.
Even before the start of the press conference, we knew what it was about.
Posters saying “IM Leni” with the hashtag “#AngTagumpayAyMaramingKulay” (Victory has many colors) were displayed behind the speakers’ table.
“Are we so opportunistic? No we are not. If so, we would go with Bongbong (Marcos) because it’s a sure win. It’s still an uphill battle, we don’t know if we’ll get to victory but we’d rather bet on someone who in all trajectories, scheme, sentiment, they all lean towards the VP. Argaño told Rappler.
When asked why they decided to move to Robredo now, and not after Holy Week, as manager Tim Orbos previously suggested, Argaño replied that time is running out.
“We are running out of time. If we wait longer, maybe our help won’t count as much,” he said.
Their decision comes just a week after its Visayas chapter, led by Nick Malazarte, said it would support Robredo and no longer the mayor of Manila. On Monday, April 11, his Zamboanga chapter held a press conference also switching to Robredo and, for their vice-presidential bet, to Sara Duterte.
These groups had also cited Moreno’s third place finish in the March Pulse Asia survey as the reason for their decision. Moreno’s national campaign team retaliated by pointing to a more recent survey of cellphone users that showed the mayor of Manila, not Robredo, in second place.
Before announcing his move to Robredo, National MI Pilipinas asked Moreno to consider stepping down or resuming unity talks with Robredo and other non-Marcos presidential bets.
Impact on the Isko campaign
National IM Pilipinas’ decision to switch to Robredo is significant as it was one of the first groups to support Moreno’s bid and claimed to have 800,000 members nationwide.
Dani Enriquez, leader of another Isko Moreno volunteer group, described IM Pilipinas in a Rappler Talk interview as a “very important” group of volunteers who were “one of the most active”.
However, he said there were still more than 100 active volunteer groups when he last checked.
Enriquez hinted that one of the factors behind IM Pilipinas’ defection was the national campaign team’s reluctance to fund some of his initiatives.
“They can’t implement what they want to do because they have their own style, so maybe they got frustrated,” he said in Filipino.
In a meeting Isko Moreno had with representatives of various volunteer groups in March, the candidate stressed that he did not want volunteers to depend on funding from the national campaign team because he wanted the efforts are as “organic” as possible. But this supposedly went against what IM Pilipinas was proposing.
“I AM [Pilipinas] proposed means for the campaign but they could not reconcile it with the idea of Yorme (Isko). We were sold on his (de Moreno) idea because Yorme wants a more organic operation, ie, from the people… When you operate, you have to send financial support to the field, but Yorme management comes from the hearts of people who are really supporting him,” Enriquez said.
Argaño denied in another Rappler Talk interview asking for funding from the national campaign team. – Rappler.com