MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday maintained that he would rather stay behind the camera during relief operations because being photographed while extending help to people during calamity makes him cringe.
Lacson was asked by Professor Antonio Contreras during the DZRH presidential job interview about recent comments regarding the senator’s seemingly lacking action on the ground. In reply, Lacson said he has provided immediate help during disasters, even after Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) pummelled parts of the country last month, but that he just cannot stomach using relief operations for politicking.
“Agad-agad, nagpadala kami ng tulong doon pero gusto nga no’ng magdadala, ‘Sir sumama kayo kasi mag-eeleksyon, sabi ko hindi na’. Mas importante kasi (tumulong), ang feeling ko nadidiminish ‘yong tulong ‘pag sinamahan ng epal,” Lacson told the panel.
“Kinikilabutan po ako kapag ‘yong sasamahan tapos habang tinu-turnover, photo op?” he asked.
Lacson said that during Odette’s onslaught, there were local government officials who informed him about the extensive damage — to which he responded by sending aid without the public knowing much of it.
“‘Yong record ko na lang po ang magsasalita para sa akin, ngayon ‘yong hindi alam ng ating mga kababayan dahil natanong niyo, alam niyo no’ng Odette, nauna na kami doon eh, no’ng pagkatapos mangyari, na dumaing — marami akong kaibigan do’n na local officials at pinakita sa amin ‘yong sitwasyon,” he explained.
“Sa Cagayan, Bicol, Catanduanes, mga nakaraang bagyo. Gano’n din, nagpadala ako ng mga construction materials, mga yero, mga kahoy, nagdala kami ng mga bigas,” he added.
In a recent one-on-one interview with talk show host Boy Abunda, Vice President Leni Robredo was asked during the “political fast talk” segment to give reasons as to why people should not vote for her rivals in the presidential race.
On Lacson, she said that the senator appears to be full of talk but lacking action on the ground.
On Thursday, Robredo admitted that her outright criticism of her fellow presidential candidates would ruffle feathers and elicit strong reactions. But she explained that she was asked the question and she just had to answer it “in my honest opinion” as she did not want to appear evasive during the interview.
Minutes after that interview, Lacson posted on his Twitter account his objection to Robredo’s observations about him.
His running mate, vice presidential candidate Vicente Sotto III, also defended Lacson.