FPJ CRIME FIGHTER IN 'REEL' LIFE, LACSON CRIME BUSTER IN 'REAL' LIFE  - PADILLA

CEBU CITY, March 10, 2004
 
(STAR) By Jess Diaz - If front-running opposition candidate movie actor Fernando Poe Jr. is a crime fighter in the movies, the other opposition candidate, Sen. Panfilo Lacson was a crime buster in real life.

House Minority Leader Carlos Padilla, Lacson’s lone senatorial candidate, said in a radio interview here yesterday that he does not regret having preferred to run with the former Philippine National Police chief instead of Poe.

"Ping Lacson has tangled with criminals, fought and busted syndicates in real life. The other candidate has a crime fighting track record only in reel life," he said.

Before the election campaign started, Poe had included Padilla in his senatorial ticket as his and Lacson’s common candidate.

But his decision was apparently reversed by his political handlers, principally Senators Edgardo Angara and Vicente Sotto III. The two had publicly urged Padilla to make a choice: either Poe or Lacson.

Padilla heads the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) bloc in the House of Representatives. Angara is his party president. They had parted ways over their choice of a presidential standard-bearer.

For his part, Lacson said Poe had promised him that Padilla would be their common senatorial candidate.

He said if they meet again, he would ask him if he was still honoring his word.

"I want him to face me and Padilla and explain why he did not fulfill his promise," Lacson said.

The two opposition rivals had met at least twice. A third meeting was scheduled for next month, but both Poe and Lacson have said they were no longer interested in meeting again.

But Lacson said Poe must still prove that he is a man of his word, so the actor must explain why Padilla was dropped from the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino senatorial slate when Boots Anson-Roa and, later, Salvador Escudero joined the KNP team.

Padilla, meanwhile, voiced out regret over the failure of the unity efforts with Poe, saying they would have a good chance of winning the May elections had they consolidated their forces. — With Jose Rodel Clapano


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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