Lacson: I was Victim of Injustice, Not Spoiler

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson maintained Sunday he was a victim of injustice and unfair treatment, and not a spoiler, in the opposition’s political fortunes in the 2004 presidential and national elections. 

Lacson, questioning claims that he took away “needed” votes from the late Fernando Poe Jr. in the 2004 race, said his decision to continue his presidential bid in 2004 despite several offers of compromise was out of self-respect.

“I will never admit playing the spoiler’s role in 2004. I was more of a victim of injustice and unfair treatment by my former party Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP),” he stressed.

He said it was out of self-respect that he rejected calls to withdraw from the race, particularly after he received “very tempting” offers from Poe’s camp, including reimbursement of expenses, Cabinet posts for himself and members of his campaign staff, and anointment in 2010.

Besides, he said the myth that Poe could have won had he “slid down” and ran as his vice presidential candidate was shattered in 2005, when the “Hello Garci” scandal detailed an elaborate plan by the administration to cheat the opposition, even if they united.

On the other hand, Lacson said former President Joseph Estrada is within his rights to join the 2010 presidential race if he decides to run, “barring any constitutional or legal complications.”

In his case, he said he will look at three conditions of intention, opportunity and means.

“If you ask me, I’d say yes, I have the intention,” he said.

“But there are two other more important considerations, 1 of them is opportunity. Opportunity comes in the form of independent surveys, focus group discussions, endorsements and so forth. And the instrument. Do you have the capability to run a national campaign? These include funding, organization, resources. If all three present themselves at the proper time, I will definitely go for it,” he said.