Isko Moreno quits as Manila traffic czar, contemplates 2016 run

MANILA, Philippines – Contemplating on a possible 2016 political bid, Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno leaves his post as the Philippine capital's traffic czar.

Moreno "could no longer faithfully perform his sworn duty [as Manila's traffic czar] with [the] decision he will be making in the coming days," read a statement from his office Monday, September 28.

Now on his last term as Manila vice mayor, Moreno is finalizing his plans for the 2016 Philippine elections.

The vice mayor said he has yet to decide whether his 2016 candidacy will be for a local or national post. His statement hinted at a possible Manila mayoralty bid or a senatorial bid.

Hayaan 'nyo po muna akong mapag isa, mabigyan ng sapat na panahon na makonsulta ang aking pamilya at mga kaibigan, lalong lalo na ang mga Manilenyo bago ako mag desisyon sa aking tatahaking landas – kung ipagpapatuloy ko man ang pagseserbisyo ko sa lungsod ng Maynila o kung saan man ako dalhin ng tadhana,” said Moreno.

(Allow me to contemplate on my own, be given enough time to consult my family and friends, especially the Manileños before I make a decision on which path to take – if I will continue my service in the city of Manila or wherever destiny may take me.)

To get a sense of the pulse of the masses in Manila, Moreno will be embarking on a "consultation tour" in the city.

Moreno, a former actor, is on his last term as vice mayor. He can only run for mayor if his party mate, former president and now Mayor Joseph Estrada, will not seek re-election.

Estrada was said to have promised Moreno in 2013 that he would only serve for one term and endorse him for the mayoralty after that.

In 2013, Estrada won by a margin of a little over 30,000 votes against then re-electionist Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, while Moreno had a strong lead of over 100,000 votes against his rival then.

Moreno can also take a chance for a slot in the Philippine Senate, though early surveys do not place him in the top 12 contenders

He ranks 17th-22nd among senatorial preferences in the latest Pulse Asia survey on the 2016 elections. His choice of political party if he ever decides to run as senator will likewise be a test of party loyalty.

Philippine politics is known for aggressive turncoatism by elected officials, highlighting the lack of clear-cut party ideologies. 

The month of October ushers in the period of filing of ceritficates of candidacy by interested parties before the election commission.

Traffic in Manila

As he declared his resignation as Manila's traffic czar, Moreno expressed gratitude to his party mate Estrada for the latter's trust in him.

"[I]t was one of the most difficult and challenging task he has ever faced," read the statement released.

Heavy vehicular congestion in Manila roads is a daily problem.

Estrada "should pick somebody who can devote more time and attention to the worsening traffic problem in Manila," Moreno's statement read further.

Moreno cited the city-wide Manila truck ban and modified bus ban among the "drastic measures" he put in place to decongest Manila roads. He presided the city council that passed the ordinances for these.

Moreno "tried his best not necessarily to eradicate the monstrous traffic problem but to make it manageable and tolerable for motorists and commuters alike," the statement added.

Moreno earlier touted as a result of "political will" the city's modified bus ban, which disallowed city and provincial buses without terminals in Manila from traversing the city roads.  Rappler.com