Lito Banayo is a veteran political strategist, having been part of the presidential campaigns of Joseph Estrada in 1998, Sen. Panfilo Lacson in 2004, and the late Benigno Aquino III in 2010.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s envoy to Taiwan said Wednesday he had resigned to help prepare Manila Mayor Isko Moreno for a possible presidential run in next year’s elections.

Lito Banayo, who was also part of Duterte’s campaign team in 2016, said he stepped down as chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office effective last July, about seven months after Moreno’s team had initiated talks with him.

“Yung napupulsuhan ko at, honestly, hinihikayat kong tumakbo, si Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso,” he said on the “Facts First” podcast by veteran journalist Christian Esguerra.

“Hindi naman tama na you’re not going to support who’s going to be the candidate of the administration. Hindi naman tama na nandun ka at the same time.”

Banayo said he had since been advising Moreno on campaign strategy, helping the mayor team interpret commissioned pre-election surveys and focus group discussions.

Banayo is a veteran political strategist, having been part of the presidential campaigns of Joseph Estrada in 1998, Sen. Panfilo Lacson in 2004, and the late Benigno Aquino III in 2010.

Moreno is set to announce next month his decision on whether he will run for president, his new adviser said.

Should the mayor indeed file his candidacy for president, he is expected to go up against Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

 

In this episode, Christian Esguerra speaks with veteran campaign strategist Lito Banayo, who quit as Duterte’s envoy to Taiwan to campaign for Isko Moreno for president. Can Moreno, who emerged from the slums of Manila to become the city’s mayor, rise all the way to Malacañang?

In a meeting in January this year, Banayo said he had advised the president against fielding his daughter in 2022.

“Mr. President, hindi po siguro kanais-nais na patakbuhin si Sara right after your presidency,” he recalled himself saying.

“Parang ang dating sa tao, ang local dynasty being super-imposed into the national scene.”

Seeking the Malacañang post can also be risky for Moreno, who is serving his firm term and is widely expected to win reelection as mayor.

But Banayo said: “Carpe diem yan e. If you think the wind is beneath your wings, you seize the day.”