Former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, who ran under the Otso Diretso senatorial slate in 2019, has resigned from Aksyon Demokratiko to support the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo.
Aksyon fielded Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso in the May 2022 presidential race.
“I am leaving Aksyon not to join another party, but out of ethical considerations,” Hilbay wrote in a statement posted on his social media accounts on Monday.
“I respect the decision of the party to choose Mayor Isko Moreno as candidate for president, but also believe VP Leni is a much better candidate in this most crucial of elections,” he added.
Hilbay enumerated issues that he believed Robredo would resolve, including poverty, corruption, accountability for alleged state-sponsored killings, Chinese interference, climate change, and fake news.
“We need a president who will confront problems, not with publicity stunts to manipulate Filipinos, but with honest-to-goodness attempts at solutions. Leni Robredo is that leader,” he wrote.
“We need a president who will show up, level with the people, and treat them not as subjects to be subjugated but as fellow citizens and stakeholders in nation-building,” Hilbay added.
The former solicitor general also claimed that Robredo has been “more presidential” than President Rodrigo Duterte, noting her contributions in the country’s pandemic response despite her office’s limited budget.
Hilbay also lauded Robredo for her “remarkable grace and grit while dealing with disrespect, propaganda, and fake news from Duterte and his minions.”
He then thanked his party mates for accepting him among their ranks, and for supporting his 2019 Senate run.
Aksyon chairperson Ernest Ramel Jr. said Hilbay was a “good representation” for the party, but he took pride that the group has gained thousands of members who are seeking national and local posts in next year’s elections.
He added that the increasing number of Aksyon members proves that Domagoso and his ticket gain “more support and more strength as we embark towards victory in 2022.”
“In fact, we continue to get more queries and applications from other candidates, even after the filing of certificate of candidacies had lapsed,” Ramel said.
Hilbay’s resignation came days after Domagoso drew flak for using a derogatory slang against Otso Diretso and for mocking its overwhelming loss in the previous midterm elections.
Otso Diretso, the opposition’s 8-man slate in the 2019 senatorial race, was composed of Hilbay, former Rep. Gary Alejano, former senator Bam Aquino, former interior chief Mar Roxas, lawyers Erin Tañada, Chel Diokno, and Romulo Macalintal, and Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc.
Gutoc is running again for senator under Domagoso’s ticket. She previously said that joining Aksyon — and leaving the Liberal Party in which Robredo is chairperson — did not mean she has betrayed her principles.
Gutoc also said that she had informed the Liberal Party leadership prior to leaving.