Panfilo “Ping” Lacson. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
MANILA, MAY 25, 2015 (INQUIRER) Christine O. Avendaño, Marlon Ramos - The “dark horse” in next year’s presidential race, former Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, has television ads hitting the air waves since the start of the week, courtesy of supporters egging him to once more make a run for the presidency.
There are two versions of the ads meant to bolster awareness of Lacson, focusing on his stint as senator and his refusal to make use of pork barrel funds allocated to senators.
One of the ads showed children singing to tune of “Pen pen de sarapen” and “Ping Ping at disiplin kailangan ng Pilipins.”
In a text message, Lacson, who earlier said he was considering to run for president, said it was his friends and supporters, mostly from the Filipino-Chinese community, who put up funds to produce the commercials, which have aired on prime time.
He said other supporters were printing bumper stickers and other materials to boost the awareness campaign for him.
Responding to challenge
A sample of a Lacson bumper sticker now in circulation said: “Dito Tayo sa Magaling! Ping 2016. No to Corruption. No to Kotong.”
“I think they responded to the challenge to ‘show me the numbers’ that would guide me in my decision on which direction to take in the elections next year,” Lacson said.
But he described the information drive as “disorganized.”
“Disorganized in the sense that it’s a ‘to each his own’ kind of efforts to attain their common objective of convincing me to go for the presidency instead of the Senate.”
Lacson earlier said he would either run again for senator or seek the presidency.
After seeing one of the TV ads during the airing of the noontime television show “Eat Bulaga,” acting Senate Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III said Lacson could be a “dark horse” that could see him being pitted against Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Sotto said Lacson had the qualities of a leader that people wanted, a “decision maker, no political baggage, a decisive person” and not linked to graft and corruption.
But Sotto also said Lacson would have a better chance of winning if Poe did not enter the presidential race. He said if Poe would not run for president, he would support Lacson. But he also said Lacson would not likely run if Poe ran.
Sotto said if Poe would not run, a good running mate for Lacson would be Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
“Everything at this time will be, at the very least, speculative,” Lacson said.
A man they call “Agimat” (amulet) has also stirred speculation. Apparently, not even being behind prison bars could keep Sen. Bong Revilla from throwing his hat in the political ring.
Detained for allegedly benefiting in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, Revilla hinted he may still pursue a higher elective post next year despite being dragged in the country’s worst corruption scandal.
“Does the law prohibit detainees from running for an elective post? That’s my question,” Revilla told reporters after his pretrial hearing in the Sandiganbayan.
“There’s no law which bars detainees from joining the elections, right? But I rather [not discuss it] because I might stay in jail longer,” he said with a laugh. “Let’s just wait for the filing of candidacy in October.”
Asked if he would run for president or vice president, he said: “I’ll keep my options open. Even if I’m detained, I know that my conscience is clean. The truth will come out eventually… at the right time.”
Revilla claimed several personalities had been seeing him in his detention room at Camp Crame.
He declined to say if representatives of political parties had been talking to him, and kept mum when asked if he and detained fellow Sen. Jinggoy Estrada planned to run for elective posts together.
‘Conscience is clean’
Asked if the pork barrel issue would affect his election chances, Revilla said: “If you know you’re guilty, you will not even think of running. But if your conscience is clean, you have nothing to be afraid of.”
Revilla called on his critics to stop their mudslinging campaign.
“I just hope this rotten system in our government will change. I just hope the fight will be fair. Let the people decide,” Revilla said.
Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano agreed that Revilla’s incarceration would not bar him from running in next year’s elections.
“It’s his right. [He] is still allowed (to run) because he’s not yet convicted,” Justiniano said.
Santiago for MV Pangilinan; ad backs Poe, Ping Lacson Erika Sauler, Gil Cabacungan and Leila B. Salaverria | Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:56 AM | Thursday, March 22th, 2015
(From left) Businessman Manuel V. Pangilina, former senator Ping Lacson, Senator Grace Poe
MANILA, Philippines–The season for political endorsements or for floating trial balloons appears to have begun.
Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan was put forward as a presidential candidate in May 2016 by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago in her speech at a Maynilad event on Wednesday.
Santiago endorsed Pangilinan as she dismissed a full-page newspaper ad urging Sen. Grace Poe and former Sen. Panfilo Lacson “to run in tandem for higher office” in 2016 as the “PR work of a team working for either camp.”
Reacting to the ad, Poe said she was grateful for the kind words given by the retired military and police officers in the full-page ad, while Lacson said he was thankful for the endorsement.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who wants to run for Vice President next year, said Lacson was very much qualified to run for President.
As for Poe, Trillanes said she would be a “very formidable opponent” should she run for Vice President.
“She’s very much qualified to run for any position and I believe the people’s sympathy is with her,” he said.
At the Maynilad Leadership Talk at the University of the Philippines Asian Center auditorium, guest speaker Santiago said: “What is it that you want for the Philippines in 2016? I want you to think about those. And I want you to think about Mr. Manny Pangilinan for President of the republic.”
Pangilinan is chair of Maynilad Water Services Inc., one of the two private water concessionaires in Metro Manila. He is also chair of Manila Electric Co., Philex Mining Corp. and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., whose media arm has shares in the Inquirer and other newspapers.
Asked in a press briefing later if she was endorsing Pangilinan, Santiago said, “Yes.”
“People like him should be in positions of leadership,” the senator said, adding that honesty, professional excellence and academic excellence were the qualifications that she was looking for in public officials.
Not a politician
After Santiago’s speech, Pangilinan told reporters: “I thank her for that but I’m not sure if she was totally serious. I respect her opinion. Her opinion counts a lot but I’m not a politician.”
Pangilinan was reported last year as a possible running mate of Vice President Jejomar Binay, the first politician to declare that he would run for President in 2016.
But Binay said last month he was considering Pag-Ibig president and CEO Darlene Marie Berberabe his running mate.
Don’t count her out
Despite her expression of support for Pangilinan, Santiago said she wasn’t discounting the possibility of her own candidacy.
“Just because it is an option for me doesn’t mean I have to close all options. I’m just thinking aloud to the young people what kind of candidate I have in mind,” she said.
Asked to comment on the manifesto supporting a Poe-Lacson tandem after she endorsed Pangilinan, Santiago said, “As a veteran candidate, I can dismiss it offhand as part of PR work.”
“In practical terms, you cannot just think of any person to put together and spend money on a full-page ad. It’s too expensive to express a casual opinion,” she said.
Retired men in uniform
A “manifesto for democratic discernment, vigilance and transformation” appeared in the Inquirer on Wednesday that was signed by 35 retired police and military officials. Lacson is a former national police chief.
The manifesto cited the Mamasapano clash, the devastation of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), the pork barrel scam, and traffic and port congestion as recent crises that “jarred the senses of our people.”
“Faced with these crises and problems, our people need and deserve a national leadership that is competent, incorruptible and does not adhere to traditional politics,” it said.
The manifesto said the “strong-willed, disciplined and decisive service reputation” of Lacson and the “untarnished and compassionate brand of leadership” of Poe would be the best combination to serve the needs of the Filipino people.
Among the signatories to the manifesto were retired Col. Mariano Santiago (who led rebels’ takeover of state-owned broadcast stations in the Edsa People Power Revolution), Brig. Gen. Rodrigo B. Gutang (executive director of the Association of Generals and Flag Officers), Lt. Gen. Edilberto P. Adan (former executive director of the Philippine Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement), Col. Guillermo G. Cunanan (former general manager of Manila International Airport), Col. Victor Erfe (member of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement) and Lt. Gen. Edgardo E. Batenga (former chair of the Philippine peace panel).
Santiago said the proponents did not present a strong case for Poe and Lacson. “It’s not like they have experience, some mileage in working together. It makes you suspicious right away.”
Poe to consider tandem
Poe assured the retired men in uniform that she would continue to do what she believed what was best for the country.
“I have high respect for Senator Lacson’s record as a public servant. And to be regarded and mentioned with him in the same breath is a privilege. This expression of support among other equally important factors will definitely be considered in whatever decision I will make in the future,” Poe said in a text message.
Poe, who was appointed by President Aquino as chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board before she topped the 2013 senatorial election, has remained coy on her political plans despite her high ratings in surveys on possible presidential and vice presidential candidates.
As chair of the committee on public order, she has led the hearings on the Mamasapano debacle and on the problems besetting the Metro Rail Transit.
In a text message, Lacson said he was thankful for the endorsement made by his former comrades “who have been in the battlefields themselves at some point and been vanguards of law and order.”
Lacson a Poe admirer
Lacson said he was a Poe admirer. “As I follow the young political career of Sen. Grace Poe, I can’t help but admire her for not being a traditional politician. With an untainted name and reputation, her sobriety and professionalism in showing a commanding presence and leadership even in the presence of her veteran colleagues in the Senate is truly commendable,” he said.
Lacson, whose second-straight term as senator ended in 2013, recently resigned as Aquino’s adviser on rehabilitation and recovery.
He noted that voters had become more critical and discerning in the light of recent events, such as the Mamasapano encounter. He said the elections of President Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2010 and Poe in 2013 “have shown us how political landscapes and fortunes can change overnight and this other guiding factor I will consider in firming up my decision,” Lacson said.
Binay considers Duterte as running mate; But Davao City mayor says he is not running for any position in 2016 Niña P. Calleja, Yuji Gonzales | INQUIRER.net, Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:11 PM | Friday, May 22nd, 2015
Vice President Jejomar Binay and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. INQUIRER PHOTOS
Vice President Jejomar Binay is considering Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte his possible running mate in the 2016 presidential elections.
In an interview with a local station on Thursday, Binay said Duterte was “qualified” to be the vice presidential bet of his party United Nationalist Alliance.
“[Duterte is] being considered. I don’t think he would be angry about it. He’s qualified. He’s a successful mayor,” Binay said.
“Sabi ko nga, there was a time na-feature pa kaming tatlo, successful mayors—ako, si Lito Atienza at saka si Mayor Duterte (As I said, there was a time when the three of us were featured as successful mayors—me, Lito Atienza and Mayor Duterte),” he added.
Duterte, however, has announced he is not running for any position in 2016.
Speaking to the Inquirer by phone on Friday, Duterte said he had repeatedly announced he was not running because he could not afford to do so.
“I don’t have money and I don’t want to beg for money. This Vice President … I have to spend but I don’t have the money. I don’t like asking around for money, especially from other politicians because I don’t want to incur debt of gratitude,” he said, adding that he had been a politician and mayor of Davao City for years and there was no single instance he shopped around for campaign funds.
Duterte said he had been going around the country not to promote his potential candidacy for a higher post but to rally people to support federalism.
“I have been promoting federalism because there have been clashes due to BBL but I am not running.
There was never an instance that I said I’m interested to be president or vice president,” the mayor said.
He added “only those who have resources should run.”
Binay, who has suffered blows from the Anti-Money Laundering Council report detailing the movement of the money which allegedly came from corruption he and his family have been accused of, has not yet picked a running mate for the presidential race.
He has been saying he will not withdraw from the race despite the string of corruption allegations thrown at him.
Running mate qualifications
Binay is on a tour in Visayas and Mindanao this week, visiting the province of Davao del Norte and Davao City, which is Duterte’s stronghold.
Asked about the qualifications he was looking for in a running mate, he replied: “Someone who has the experience and if possible someone who can understand the economy so we can improve it.”
Accompanied by Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian in the tour, Binay also disclosed he had invited the congressman to join his senatorial lineup.
“He was a mayor before becoming a congressman,” Binay said referring to Gatchalian.
On Sen. Grace Poe’s rejection of his offer to be his running mate, however, Binay said he respected her decision.
Poe, who had emerged as a possible presidential candidate in the next year’s elections, said she did not see herself as the Vice President’s running mate.
Binay face mounting calls to explain the serious allegations of corruption against him, particularly the information on the 242 bank accounts and insurance policies which he, the members of his family and close allies allegedly own.
But Binay has kept dismissing the AMLC report as an attack led by his political rivals due to his determination to run for president in 2016.
“I have declared my presidential run too early that’s why
I am at the receiving end of these lies and demolition jobs,” Binay said.
With a report by Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao