Though speculations surfaced early on that Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso was gunning for the presidency even before he made his bid official in October 2021, his family still felt a mix of concern and hesitation when he finally confirmed the news.
"Para ata akong huling nakaalam eh. Sinabi niya, ‘Mommy desidido na ako. Tatakbo na akong presidente.’ Sabi ko, 'sure ka ba diyan? Another six years? Kelan ka magiging akin?'," Dianna Lynn "Dynee" Domagoso, recalling the moment, told Boy Abunda in a sit-down interview with her son Patrick.
"'Kailangan mo ako samahan dito,' [sabi niya]. Sabi ko, 'I'll just support you as always.' 'Di ba kung anong magpapasaya sa mahal mo, 'yun lang rin gusto mo?" she added.
Meanwhile, Isko's stepson Patrick shared about how his father sat down all his five kids and wife to announce his plans.
"I wasn't super shocked kasi there were a lot of rumors already," he shared.
"I felt concerned for his safety because I know there’s going to be a lot of noise, a lot of criticism, and at the same time I felt proud and supportive of my dad," the eldest son added.
'A simple man'
Growing up in the slums of Tondo, Isko is described by his family as a "simple man" with a penchant for movies.
Patrick and Dynee talked about how when the Manila Mayor isn't hard at work, he spends his free time bonding with his family.
"I think the Isko that you see in the public is no different than the one you see at home. He’s a public servant through and through. He’s very passionate about serving the people and providing a family at the same time that he rarely has time for himself," Patrick shared.
"But when he does, he likes to watch movies with the kids. Sometimes he’s malambing with our mom, sometimes he’s maharot with Drake, our bunso."
"He loves war documentaries," Dynee added. "Parang ang dami niyang natututunan tapos i-didiscuss niya sakin with a lot of enthusiasm."
He's a visionary. He's proactive. Nakikita niya yung susunod na steps.
One of Isko's few indulgences, according to his family, is collecting watches.
"He likes watches but generally, he’s a simple man. You give him steak, he’ll want sinigang or munggo," the son said.
"Di siya masyadong reklamador, kahit anong pagkain okay lang sa kanya. Sabi niya sakin, ‘Mommy sa dami ng pinagdaanan ko sa buhay, yung mga ganyan di na pinoproblema yan, di na pinag-iinisan yan,'" Dynee added.
Dynee said that Isko works so hard that he could even go a day just drinking coffee for his meals.
A love story right out of the movies
Isko and Dynee have been married for 22 years. The two met in Nakpil St. while Dynee was still studying at De La Salle University. She had a long-distance boyfriend and a son at that time and admitted that she didn't like Isko, but Yorme showed persistence despite Dynee's efforts to make him leave.
"Para umalis siya, may sinabi ako: 'Alam mo I just watched your movie a few days ago, ang baduy mo mag-english ah.' Sabi niya trabaho lang yun. 'Di siya umalis, pinanindigan lang niya and nakatingin lang siya sakin the whole time."
The day after they met, Dynee told Isko that they could only be friends. A week later, the former Manila councilor called her up to meet in Nakpil.
"Pagdating, siyempre naghihiyawan na yung mga nagshoshow, nakatiklop na yung barong niya galing session, umupo sa tabi ko. Sinabi niya sakin, 'Alam mo, karma ba kita? Kasi andami namang ibang babae diyan eh bakit ikaw pa?'"
"'I hate you, I hate you, I hate you… because I love you.' Lahat ng tao sa 'library' nagpalakpakan yun pala wala nang nagshoshow, yun pala nakikinig nalang samin," Dynee recalled.
A week after they officially became a couple, Dynee jokingly asked Isko to marry her, which he took seriously.
After she was a no-show on their planned wedding day on Dec. 8, Isko surprised her on Jan. 10 during her five-hour break from classes with a marriage ceremony in front of Café Adriatico.
"We seldom see each other, namimiss namin yung isa’t isa. Ayokong maalis yun eh. Gusto para parin kaming mag boyfriend-girlfriend. Maniniwala ka sa loob ng sasakyan, magkaholding hands parin kami. Pag natutulog, the kids would always tell us to get a room."
The Domagosos in Malacañang
Currently, the Domagosos haven't given a lot of thought about public scrutiny and their security if Isko were to be president. They also try to stay off social media to limit the criticisms they see about the candidates.
But should she be the country's next first lady, Dynee, who was once a part of the Tae Kwon Do national team along with her siblings, said she wants to do something for sports.
"Gusto ko tumulong para mas maganda yung sports sa Pilipinas kasi we always hear that the government is expecting athletes to get gold medals pero wala namang ganung support," she said.
Asked why Isko should be president, Dynee and Patrick cited Manila as a reference point about what the mayor can do as a "good crisis manager."
"Look around you. Paglabas ng pintuan makikita mo na. Kami ang nauna sa testing, sa pagbabakuna," Dynee began.
"Si Isko may napatunayan na. We’re still in a pandemic and we need a person who can deliver us through it. Para sa akin, he’s a visionary eh. He’s proactive. Nakikita niya yung susunod na steps. We need someone who can act fast, a man of action, and can do it in the fastest time," she said.
"He’s effective, he moves fast. When there’s a problem in front of him, he’ll generate ideas and at the same time, he’s open to hearing expert opinions. Just look at Manila. Over time people will see that he’s going to be the man for the job," Patrick added.