Lacson-Sotto tandem eyeing strong finish, ready for election-campaign homestretch

THE presidential tandem of Senator Panfilo M. Lacson and vice-president running mate Senate President Vicente “Tito” C. Sotto III geared up for the second half of their nationwide sorties eyeing to finish strong as they enter the homestretch of their campaign “with the quiet, steely courage of a true warrior.”

Lacson, running as independent candidate for president “minus a political party,” confirmed last Sunday he intends to press his electoral bid entering the second half of the campaign period, still minus a political party. His vice president candidate, (Senate President Sotto III) is a stalwart of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

Lacson resigned as chairman and member of the Partido Reporma, which had fielded him as standard bearer, after its top brass told him they were switching support to Vice President Leni Robredo.

In a twitter message over the weekend, Lacson said he is “used to being a “mandirigma” (warrior)’ throughout his 50 years in public service, both as law enforcer and lawmaker.

“Being a ‘mandirigma’ in all my public service life is useful. I am used to being alone in a lonely crusade against a corrupt system for the past 50 years. Nonetheless I am going all-in and all the way. Once a warrior, always a warrior,” he said on his Twitter account Sunday.

“I am used to starting a crusade―though it might be a difficult and lonely fight at first, the people would eventually see my point and join my cause,” Lacson added. “This is shown each time that my name has been put on the ballot, and the people have always renewed my mandate to serve them.”

In a separate statement, he recalled that during his stint with the Philippine Constabulary and Philippine National Police, Lacson would go after criminal gangs and those who engage in wrongdoing when transacting business with the PNP, “rejecting offers of bribes and hush money, even if it meant incurring the ire of influential people and some colleagues who are “on the take.”

Soon after his election to the Senate, Lacson admitted earning unnamed enemies in continuing his “No-Take” policy, virtually taking up a crusade in calling for “the abolition of the pork barrel system due to its temptations for corruption.”

Still, the senator added that throughout all these, he would answer the issues raised against him but would “never stoop to personal attacks.”

For instance, Lacson recalled that just last March 24, he formally confirmed his resignation from Partido Reporma after some of its officials decided to endorse another presidential candidate. On March 25, he disclosed his belief that his failure to shell out P800 million as sought by the Partido Reporma top honchos was behind the party’s dropping him.

He added receiving reports that on Saturday, leaders and members of Partido Reporma in Bohol province tendered their irrevocable resignations from the party to support Lacson’s presidential bid.

Banding together as the “Lacson-Sotto Support Group” in Bohol, he said: “they pledged their strong and continued commitment and unequivocal support to Lacson’s candidacy.” He added these include: Jagna Mayor Joseph A. Rañola and former provincial police chief Edgardo C. Ingking; Joseph Sevilla (1st district coordinator); Eduardo Aranay (2nd district coordinator); and, Emmanuel Solomon Duites (3rd district coordinator).

“They said they chose to support Lacson because they believe that we need a leader who has a clear vision on what he wants to do for our country and people and a clear plan based on science and hard data on how to accomplish it.” the senator said.

The resolution added: “As a public servant who is proven to be incorruptible and one who leads by example, we need a leader like Senator Lacson who can tame the bureaucracy in embracing good governance and restore the full trust of the Filipino people back to the government.”

The lawmaker, likewise, recalled that “earlier, members of Reporma’s Cavite chapter similarly left the party to support Lacson.”

Meanwhile, senatorial bets Minguita B. Padilla and Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said they continue to support his presidential bid, including Reporma Founder and Chairman Emeritus Renato S. de Villa, who expressed support for Lacson.

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