Angelito “Lito” Banayo, President Rodrigo Duterte’s envoy to Taiwan, on Wednesday announced his resignation as head of the Philippines’ Manila Economic and Cultural Office.
Banayo resigned purportedly to join the campaign team of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, who is being eyed by some political groups to run for president in 2022 national elections.
Banayo, who was also a key political strategist of President Duterte in the 2016 presidential campaign, revealed that he resigned as MECO chairman effective last July, after Moreno’s camp initiated talks with him.
“Yung napupulsuhan ko at (the one I picked and), honestly, I encourage to run, is Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso,” Banayo said in a podcast interview on “Facts First” hosted by journalist Christian Esguerra.
“It’s not right that you’re not going to support who’s going to be the candidate of the administration. It’s not right that you’re there at the same time,” Bayano explained in resigning as head of MECO.
Nonetheless, Banayo admitted that he had been advising Moreno on campaign strategy, helping the latter’s campaign team in interpreting commissioned pre-election surveys and focus group discussions.
One of the top political strategists in the country, Banayo had beenpart of the campaigns of President Joseph Estrada in 1998, Sen. Panfilo Lacson in 2004, and the late President Benigno Aquino III in 2010. Rey E. Requejo
As Domagoso’s new political adviser, Banayo said the mayor is expected to announce next month his decision on his run for president.
Once Moreno decides to seek the presidency, he is expected to go up against President Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Banayo admitted that during his meeting with the President earlier this year, he had advised Duterte against fielding his daughter as candidate of the administration.
“Mr. President, it may not be desirable for Sara to run right after your presidency,” he recalled himself saying.
“It gives an impression to people about the local dynasty being superimposed into the national scene,” Banayo said.
Nonetheless, Banayo admitted that seeking the presidency can also be risky for Domagoso, who he said is a sure runaway winner if he runs for reelection as Manila mayor.
“It’s carpe diem. If you think the wind is beneath your wings, you seize the day,” the former MECO chairman stressed.