Marawi-based civic leader Samira Gutoc admitted she was upset when Manila Mayor Isko Moreno attacked Vice President Leni Robredo, the remarks putting her in a “very awkward” position and inciting more pressure online for her to drop him and switch tickets ahead of the 2022 senatorial election.

But Gutoc said she’s not leaving Moreno’s senatorial ticket despite pressure from Robredo’s supporters online.

“I (was) melting. I (was) melting behind him,” Gutoc said on journalist Christian Esguerra’s “Facts First” podcast, describing the remarks as “almost below the belt.”


FACTS FIRST: In this frank conversation with Christian Esguerra, senatorial candidate Samira Gutoc explains why she felt bad about Mayor Isko Moreno’s “below-the-belt” attacks on Vice President Leni Robredo, her initial choice for president, but why she will stick with Moreno in the 2022 elections.


Gutoc cited Moreno’s Oct. 8 comments criticizing Robredo, whose supporters pushed for his withdrawal using the #WithdrawIsko hashtag, and slide down as Robredo’s vice presidential candidate.

“I felt very bad. Actually, I boycotted one event nya. Hindi ako nagpakita at alam nya yun,” said Gutoc, adding she was particularly upset when Moreno labeled Robredo as “fake” and referred to the vice president’s supporters as “yellowtards.”

“The ‘yellowtard’ was standing behind him,” said Gutoc, whose awkward facial expression while standing behind Moreno was captured on video and later became memes.

Gutoc first ran for senator in 2019 under Robredo’s “Otso Diretso” ticket, whose resounding defeat was later ridiculed by Moreno. He said these candidates got “dumped” (“nainodoro”).

Moreno took offense when pushed by Robredo’s supporters to reconsider his own presidential run soon after she declared her candidacy.

The mayor was also incensed by Robredo’s statement that their unification talks didn’t work out because of divergence in opinions over the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“Marcos again? Why does our world have to revolve around the fight between Marcos and Aquino? The fight between the children of Marcos and the children and allies of the Yellowtards? Oh, it’s pink already, sorry,” Moreno had said.

Recalling Moreno’s remarks against Robredo, Gutoc said: “I was very angry.”

“I felt very bad. I felt very sad. I couldn’t post anything to express my sentiments and feeling and people were kind of just putting me down,” she said.

Gutoc said Moreno reached out to her during an event in Batangas, where he defended her against attacks on social media. She said Moreno “understood my anger” and was “actually apologetic.”

Despite the disagreement, she said she would remain under Moreno’s lineup and Aksyon Demokratiko party.

“Kinakailangan sa oras ng pandemya, bilis kilos. Hindi ideologue, hindi perpekto si Isko. Alam ko po, and he also understands me na he needs to learn a lot from our experiences in Mindanao,” she said.