Atienza says he will not back out of VP race if no prexy bet withdraws
MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza on Friday said he is not backing out of the vice presidential race if no presidential candidate withdraws.
Atienza has been calling for presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson to quit from the 2022 derby to allow their running mates, Senator Manny Pacquiao and Senate President Vicente Sotto III, to join forces and have a better chance of winning.
“Ako’y open minded in all of these moves, which are meant to help the nation. I’m willing to do anything that I have to do. Hindi importante ‘yung kandidatura ko, ang importante dito kung ano ang ikakabuti ng ating bayan, sana ay magkaisa kaming lahat,” he said in a Pandesal Forum.
(My candidacy is not important. What is important is what will be better for the nation. I hope we can unite on this.)
“But I cannot move on my own. Sabi ni Manny [Pacquiao], kung wala rin naman gagalaw, ‘wag gagalaw, tuloy ang laban,” Atienza added.
(Pacquiao said that if no one moves, then I shouldn’t quit. We will continue the fight.)
If not one of the presidential candidates withdraws, Atienza said he will continue in the vice presidential race and campaign for Pacquiao.
“Kung walang pagbabago, hindi ako gagalaw. I will accompany Pacquiao wherever he lands finally. I do not even consider deserting the fight that Pacquiao is in,” he said.
(If nothing changes, I will not withdraw.)
For him, Atienza said Lacson is the best bet to back out since he is the running mate of Sotto. He said he does not want Sotto to seem like a “deserter” should he shift his support to Pacquiao.
He also said Lacson would “act on what is best for the nation and for us Filipinos,” further describing the senator as “patriotic” who has a strong love for his fellow countrymen.
“Whatever decision he [Lacson] makes, it will have a repercussion in the thinking of candidates, and the thinking of voters,” he said.
“He still has a lot of time to think about it, pray about it, talk to the people about it. Kung nanaisin niya na makatulong nang malaki, iligtas ang ating bansa, magagawa niya ‘yan,” Atienza added.
(If he really wants to help the country and save the nation, he can do it.)
Lacson had rejected Atienza’s call for him to back out of the presidential race.