Lacson-Sotto tandem still finalizing Senate ‘Magic 12’ for 2022 polls
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III were still deciding on their senatorial slate for the 2022 national elections, targeting to come up with a final line-up after October 8, when the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) is ended.
Sotto said Wednesday that trimming down their list was such a challenge as they were considering 14 aspiring senators.
“Actually, with due respect, as of this morning, lampas eh. Labing-apat kaya hindi namin mabigkas kaagad silang labing-dalawa, sapagkat labing-apat ‘yong kino-consider namin na nakikipag-usap sa amin,” he said after filing their COCs before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
(Actually, with due respect, as of this morning, we’re over the limit. We’re looking at 14 candidates, which is why we can’t immediately mention who the 12 are because we are considering and talking to 14 candidates.)
“And ang plano namin (And our plan is), after the filing, which is after October 8, then we will finalize the 12 that we will be endorsing,” he added.
Sotto’s explanation came after Lacson was asked about their senatorial pick as they have previously mentioned considering including two newcomers in politics as surprise bets.
Lacson said they are in the midst of discussions about their senatorial line-up as they expect their respective political parties and alliances — the Partido Reporma which he chairs, the Nationalist People’s Coalition which Sotto chairs, and the National Unity Party which former Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno leads — to each field own senatorial candidates.
He also said they are still talking to former vice president Jejomar Binay, who already declared intention to run for senator in next year’s elections. It was unclear, however, if such talks were just about inviting guest candidates, or a full-blown coalition between the above-named parties and Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), or a mere tie-up against electoral fraud.
“May mga guest candidates kami at kasi ‘yong iba miyembro ng Nationalist People’s Coalition ano, na si Senate President ang chairman. ‘Yong iba magpa-file under Partido Reporma, na ako naman ang chairman. ‘Yong iba, magpa-file din […] National Unity Party na ang chairman naman, si dating secretary Ronnie Puno na tumutulong din sa aming kampanya,” Lacson said.
(We have guest candidates and some are members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, which is chaired by the Senate President. Others would file under Partido Reporma, which I chair. Some would file with the National Unity Party which is chaired by former secretary Ronnie Puno who is helping in our campaign.)
“At no’ng isang araw, kausap namin si dating vice president Binay, magpa-file din siya pero under UNA, so ‘yan ‘yong broad coalition — hindi naman coalition, alliance ano — na ang usapan namin initially, ‘yong bottomline, is siguraduhin na malinis at maayos, at walang dayaan ‘yong eleksyon,” he added.
(And the other day, we were talking to former vice president Binay, who would also file but under UNA, so that is the broad coalition — not really a coalition, but more of an alliance — wherein it was discussed that the bottom line is ensuring that the upcoming elections are clean, orderly, and free from fraud.)
According to Lacson, fears of election fraud were due to concerns that automated elections may be vulnerable to cheating.
But aside from the parties mentioned, he said that former senator Bongbong Marcos, who has filed his own COC for president, has expressed intent to join the alliance.
“Nakipag-usap din si senator Bongbong Marcos kay vice president — kay Senate President — na kung pwedeng umanib din siya sa aming adhikain na panatiliing malinis ang halalan sa Mayo 9,” Lacson noted.
(Senator Bongbong Marcos also talked to the vice president — I mean Senate President — about possibly joining our advocacy to ensure the cleanliness of our elections this coming May 9.)
Earlier, Lacson and Sotto filed their respective COCs for president and vice president before the Commission on Elections. According to the tandem, their primary focus would be on working to restore the Filipinos’ trust in government.
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