Mano a Mano: Isko Moreno vs. Vico Sotto 2
Batang Maynila and Valle Kid. Photographs by Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News (left) and Geric Cruz

Mano a Mano: Isko Moreno vs. Vico Sotto

Enteng Kabisote’s son and Kuya Germs’s anak-anakan just unseated once-untouchable oldtimers in their respective cities. But what else do these young guns have in common apart from the show biz attachments?
Bam Abellon | May 27 2019

The triumph of Isko Moreno and Vico Sotto may be the least polarizing victories in the May 13 Philippine Midterm Elections. Isko unseated a former president and former mentor; Vico ended a powerful clan’s 27-year-rule over a city. They are the current social media news darlings, their pronouncements big or small meriting online headlines almost every day. Isko wants to clean up Manila! Vico wants people to think beyond the dilawan, DDS tags! Isko to bring down business taxes! Vico has no time for love! They represent hope in a political landscape largely occupied by old timers with reputations not exactly admirable or inspiring. Both have showbiz roots: Isko was a former ST actor, and Vico is the son of actors. Both got the Iglesia ni Cristo thumbs up. And both went through squeeze play by incumbent mayors who saw them as threat.

So while we wait and hope for the fulfillment of their campaign promises, we put their profiles against each other—Batang Tondo versus Valle Kid—to find what else they have in common, or what gives Isko the edge over Vico and vice versa.

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Mano a Mano: Isko Moreno vs. Vico Sotto 3
Baby Vico with mom Coney, and Baby Isko in Tondo

Isko Moreno

Real Name: Francisco Moreno Domagoso

Age: 44

Oldtimer unseated: Manila Mayor and Former Philippine President Joseph “Erap” Estrada

Vico Sotto

Real Name: Victor Maria Regis Nubla Sotto

Age: 29

Oldtimer Unseated: Robert “Bobby” Eusebio


Mano a Mano: Isko Moreno vs. Vico Sotto 4
A teen Isko pre-showbiz; young councilor Vico during a hearing.

Previous jobs 

Isko: Undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (2018), Vice Mayor (Manila, 2007-2016), Manila Councilor (1998-2007), Seiko Jewel, That’s Entertainment host, garbage collector 

Vico: Pasig City Councilor, 2016-2019


Educational background

Isko: Rosauro Elementary School, Tondo High School, and for college, Arellano University and the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila; University of the Philippines- Diliman for special programs on legislation; for leadership and governance courses, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and the Said Business School of the University of Oxford.

Vico: Ateneo de Manila University


Mano a Mano: Isko Moreno vs. Vico Sotto 5
Campaigning in their respective cities for the mayoralty race. Photos by Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News (left), and Geric Cruz

Pre-election hashtag

Isko: #BatangMaynila

Vico: #IbaNaman


Political Party

Isko: Asenso ManileƱo

Vico: Aksyon Demokratiko 


Dirty tricks played against them during the campaign

Isko's ST pictorials resurfaced.

Vendors disallowed to sell biko in Pasig.


Early mentors

Isko: Former Manila Mayor Danny Lacuna

Vico: Half brother L.A. Mumar (Coney’s son by basketball player Larry Mumar) who is now a motivational speaker and personal coach


Go-to outfit

Isko: Crisp white shirt with Batang Maynila patch, and glasses.

Vico: Daddy polos. From daddy's closet?


Romantic status

Isko: Married with four kids.

Vico: Single and would rather catch up on sleep. “I'm not going out of my way to find a girlfriend. There are too many things that need to be done." 


Mano a Mano: Isko Moreno vs. Vico Sotto 6
Isko at Harvard; Vico with mom.

Bio if they were on Tinder

Isko: Attended Harvard and Oxford

Vico: Making Mama Proud


How MMK will tell Isko's story

MMK has already told Isko's story in a 2004 episode called, “Aklat.” We’d love to see another version of that story with an additional scene: It’s 2016, and Erap had just won the mayoral campaign while Isko had just lost his bid to be become senator. Alone in his sala and soul-searching, the actor who plays Isko looks at the television with contempt as the actor who plays Erap appears onscreen, smiling and waving at a crowd. Isko the actor then performs the required internal monologue, “Balang araw, ipinapangako ko (insert vengeful line that ends with hope of future victory).” Erap could play himself; we heard retirement sucks. 


How Magpakailanman will tell Vico's story

A young boy always gets compliments about his movie star good looks. It turns out he truly is the son of show biz stalwarts—but he’d rather eat glass shards than join Eat Bulaga! He seems to like geeking out on politics with his older half-brother—who plants the seeds to a future career in public service. Later on, we see our hero bullied, persecuted, laughed at by his political nemesis and his ilk—but the Pasig masa rallies behind this David instead of tired old Goliath. How best to show this? An old lady vendor approaches a sweaty, exhausted, just-been-bullied Vico, tells him not to give up, the poor needs him, yada yada yada, and then, before the young man can answer, she opens her bilao of paninda covered in banana leaves. She offers the beleaguered young politico a bite of, yes, biko. If this were MMK, we already know the episode title. 


Promises made so far


1. To ease traffic, some of the projects he promised include the Manila City Walk, an in-city vertical housing program, and the Divisoria Vendors Program (which would create a more systematic foot and vehicular traffic at the highly congested center in Tondo, Manila).

2. Preserve Arroceros Forest Park (“We will try to make it na talagang parang pasyalan ng tao.”) and the Manila Zoo (“We guarantee you that all animals will be protected.”).

3. Redevelop Binondo as a business district and Pandacan as a green area.

4. Give 500 pesos monthly to senior citizens of Manila.

5. Fix Manila’s waste management system.



1. On the drug war: “As mayor, I would focus on the demand side, create rehab centers and drug testing facilities, which are all part of the Universal Health Care program that I’m forwarding.”

2. Reduce infrastructure spending to allocate more budget for health care.

3. Fix the traffic scheme and remove quota for traffic enforcers.

4. To be fair in selecting his staff, whether they were his supporters during the campaign or otherwise. “Gaya ng sinasabi ko nung kampanya pa lang, basta’t nagtatrabaho kayo ng maayos, hindi niyo kailangang mag-alala. Hindi ako benggador. Hindi rin ako mabilis maniwala sa tsismis. Lahat ay bibigyan ng pagkakataon.”


Best quote so far

Isko: “Dugyot kami. Papaliguan ko lang naman.”—referring to Manila and his planned clean-up projects for the city

Vico: “Nung nasa palengke ako nung kampanya, may lumapit sa kin, pakyawin ko daw biko niya. Sabi ko, Ate wala ka naman dalang biko, sapin-sapin yan eh! Yun pala nasa ilalim ng bilao, quiet lang daw. So hindi ko alam kung bawal talaga o natatakot lang sila. Pero ayun.”– from Vico’s Twitter account (@vicosotto). He was answering a netizen’s question about rumors that some citizens of Pasig were prohibited from selling biko. But that really leads us to this quote: “We no longer want a culture of fear. We want to be inclusive, regardless if you are an ally or an enemy. You should be treated fairly.” Fairly—even in their choice of kakanin.