Sotto ‘confident’ NPC will back his tandem with Lacson
SORSOGON CITY, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday expressed confidence that his party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), will support his tandem with presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson.
Sotto, who is running for vice president, chairs the NPC while Lacson is the chairman of Partido Reporma.
Speaking with reporters here, Sotto said he will meet with his NPC party mates on Monday.
“Antayin niyo ‘yung Monday [Let’s wait what will happen on Monday], I will let you know. I’m confident that we will be—the party will be supporting our tandem,” the Senate president
It was in July 2021 that Lacson and Sotto announced they would be running as a tandem. However, eight months into the campaign and the NPC has yet to express its support for the tandem.
When asked why the NPC has not yet formally endorsed the tandem, Sotto said some local NPC members have already committed to other candidates.
“Meron kasing mga lugar na earlier, ika nga, ay nagbigay ng commitment kay ganito, nakatulong si ganito, may mga ganoon e [There are areas where the officials have made a commitment to someone, they’ve helped this person, there are those cases]” Sotto said.
He noted, however, that this is not unique to his party.
“It’s not only NPC. I assure you, ‘yung Lakas, ‘yung LP (Liberal Party), NP (Nacionalista Party). Hindi lahat ng mga local officials nila or even mga congressman nila ay makakapag-commit sa kandidato ng partido nila 100 percent. Mahirap ‘yon,” he added.
(It’s not only NPC, I assure you, even Lakas, the LP, NP. Not all local officials or even congressmen can commit 100 percent to the party’s candidate.)
When asked if a backing from the NPC will boost Lacson’s rankings in pre-election surveys, Sotto said: “I think it will give a boost.”
“It will give a boost, especially in areas na hindi pa namin na-to-touch [that we haven’t gotten in touch with],” the Senate president said.
In the latest Pulse Asia pre-election survey of 2,400 respondents from Jan. 19 to 24, Lacson got a voter preference of 4 percent, falling behind four of his presidential rivals.
Campaign for the Bicol vote
Sorsogon is the last stop for the Bicol leg of Lacson and Sotto’s campaign. In 2019, Bicol had over 3.6 million voters.
Lacson said it was “very important” for their tandem to get the Bicol vote.
“That’s substantial,” he said of the number of Bicol voters.
“Kaya kailangan talaga magkaroon ng inroads sa mga lugar na sinasabi nilang balwarte ng kung sino mang kandidato. And we do hope na at least sa Sorsogon, I trust and I’m very confident na hindi ako pababayaan ng aking partner pagdating sa mga ganyang bagay,” Lacson added.
(That’s why we need to have inroads in these places considered as the bailiwicks of other candidates. And we do hope that at least inj Sorsogon, I trust and I’m very confident that I can rely on my partner when it comes to these things.)
He was referring to Sotto, who described Sorsogon as an “NPC country.”
“When time came na ang nag-lead ng Sorsogon ay NPC, Sorsogon has reached heights that has never been reached before,” Sotto said.
(When time came that the one leading Sorsogon is from the NPC, Sorsogon has reached heights that has never been reached before.)