Sotto says partymates’ endorsement of rivals a ‘blessing in disguise’
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III sees as something of a “blessing in disguise” the move of two of his partymates to endorse the candidacy of his and running mate Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s rivals in the May 9 elections.
Speaking during the “Meet the Press” forum on Thursday, Sotto said the voters stand to benefit from the latest development in their tandem’s senatorial slate, saying the electorate may now see who among the candidates have loyalty.
“Ang maganda lang dito, I think this could be somewhat a blessing in disguise as far as the voters are concerned. Makikita mo kung sino yung may loyalty at wala….I’m not speaking about any particular candidate,” Sotto said without mentioning the names of candidates he could be alluding to.
(What’s good about this, I think, (is that) this could be somewhat (of) a blessing in disguise as far as the voters are concerned. They will see who has loyalty and who does not… I’m not speaking about any particular candidate.)
“Sa lahat ng mga kandidato, makikita niyo sino yung loyal, ‘pag hindi loyal, e hindi magiging loyal sa inyo yun, ‘di niyo maaasahan yun,” he added.
(For every candidate, you will gauge who is loyal, if they’re not loyal, they will not be loyal to you, too, you can’t count on them.)
Earlier, reelectionist Senator Sherwin Gatchalian and former Quezon City Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista were removed from the list of senatorial candidates being endorsed by the Lacson-Sotto tandem.
Both Gatchalian and Bautista are members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), which has Sotto as chair.
During the media forum, a video of Gatchalian during the proclamation rally of Lacson and Sotto’s rivals—former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio–was shown.
In the video, Gatchalian called Marcos the president and Duterte-Carpio as vice president.
Bautista also attended the said rally and is now endorsing the tandem of Marcos and Duterte-Carpio.
“Dito sa mga kilos na ‘yan [With these kinds of actions], it’s very enlightening for the voters,” Sotto went on.
Sotto said Gatchalian personally asked his permission to attend Marcos and Duterte-Carpio’s rally.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who is also under the Lacson-Sotto slate as an independent candidate, also asked Sotto’s permission.
“They promised they would not endorse,” Sotto said.
“Sen. Migz Zubiri was true to his word, like a true gentleman. He followed a gentlemen’s agreement and he said he will not endorse. He will attend but he will not endorse,” he added.
Gatchalian earlier said he respects the decision to remove him from the Lacson-Sotto tandem’s slate and apologized for “any misunderstanding that I may have caused.”
“I have worked first hand with Sen. Lacson and SP Sotto and I have nothing but utmost respect and admiration for the two gentlemen,” Gatchalian added.
During the media forum, Sotto was also asked if he will inhibit from the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) for the 2022 polls.
The canvassing of votes for the presidential and vice presidential race is done by Congress, who will sit as the NBOC.
Sotto cited two possible scenarios. Either he will inhibit from joining the NBOC, with Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto taking over, or the upper chamber will elect a new Senate President.
“I have no problem whichever way,” he said.
Lacson, however, advised his running mate not to inhibit since it is the latter’s constitutional duty to preside over the NBOC.
“That is a constitutional duty. Bakit ka kailangang mag-inhibit [Why would you need to inhibit], you cannot overturn the result of the election, especially now that automated yung eleksyon [the election is automated],” Lacson said.
“I will advise the Senate President not to inhibit, not for anything, but because it is his constitutional duty to preside over a joint congressional body na magko-constitute [that will constitute] as a national canvassing board. He will abandon his constitutional duty if he inhibits,” he added.
Asked if he will heed Lacson’s advice, Sotto said: “Well, we have never been known to turn our backs on our duties.”