Independent presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson on Sunday vowed to fight moves by some sectors to subvert democracy by “convincing” him and some of his fellow presidential aspirants to withdraw from the presidential race.
Lacson said he was not alone in getting feelers to withdraw from the presidential derby in exchange for financial and other considerations.
“Sinu-subvert na natin ang will ng electorate maski wala pang halalan (This is an attempt to subvert the will of the electorate even before Election Day),” he said at a press conference with fellow presidential candidates at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City.
“Yan ang essence ng paglabas namin ngayong umaga. At warning na rin na huwag kayo mag-subvert ng will of the electorate kasi we’ll stand up as one (That is the essence of our press conference – and a warning against those concerned against subverting the will of the electorate because we’ll stand up as one),” he added.
Also at the press conference were Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales, who narrated their own experiences of being approached to back out of the race – and made a similar vow.
During the press conference, Lacson and his fellow candidates vowed to unite against those trying to subvert the democratic process, and to continue with their respective campaigns.
“We’re emphasizing this morning that nobody will withdraw. We’ll go all the way till May 9, come what may. Let’s not buy their propaganda no matter how foul and below the belt,” Lacson stressed.
Lacson – who earlier named former Quezon City Mayor Brigido “Jun” Simon Jr. as approaching him to withdraw in favor of Vice President Leonor Robredo, after meeting with Mrs. Robredo at least twice earlier – said he learned from Gonzales that he had a similar experience.
On the other hand, Lacson noted he and other candidates including Mayor Domagoso, were being “stripped” of their supporters by the same camp.
“They are trying to strip us of our supporters and support groups,” he said, referring to his former party Reporma and Domagoso’s “Ikaw Na” shifting their support to Mrs. Robredo.
Yet, he noted most of his supporters in Reporma left the party or at least maintained their support for his presidential bid.
For his part, Domagoso said it seems that “isang kulay lang lahat nang ito (only one color is behind this).”
“Marami talagang attempts at ninlilimit ang choices sa dalawa. That’s why we had to do this (There were many attempts to limit the electorate’s choices to two. That’s why we had to do this),” Lacson noted.
“Sabi ko baka pwedeng kausapin natin ang ibang kasamang tumatakbo, baka may sariling experience (I told him maybe we can talk to other candidates who have had similar experiences),” he added.
For his part, Lacson’s vice presidential bet, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, said he is supporting Lacson, Domagoso and Gonzales. “I fully support the stand they are making on this,” he said.