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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

No mudslinging from us, Lacson, Sotto promise

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Stressing they have never launched personal attacks against any national candidate, Partido Reporma presidential bet Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and running mate Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said they will stick to their issues-based campaign and refrain from mudslinging even after the votes are cast in the May 9 national elections.

The Lacson-Sotto tandem promised this Wednesday after a campaign sortie in Batangas, following reactions from critics, who said the longtime public servants were using other candidates to prop themselves up to the electorate, particularly their constant line of going after “thieves” and stopping corruption in government.

BACK TO FRONT. Partido Reporma standard-bearer Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson (seated right) and running mate Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III (left) listen to senatorial candidate Dr. Minguita Padilla deliver her message to a socially-distanced crowd at a gym in Batangas City on Wednesday. Earlier, the team paid a courtesy call on Batangas City Mayor Beverly Dimacuha and Rep. Marvey Mariño and visited the towns of Rosario, San Juan, and Padre Garcia. Partido Reporma Media Bureau

Also, Lacson and Sotto reminded Filipinos there was nothing to feel nostalgic about the Philippines under Martial Law and a tyrannical rule when cronyism and persecution trended at the expense of genuine public services.

Walking reporters down memory lane during a recent “Meet the Press” forum, the presidential duo said anyone who was already alive when Filipinos staged a bloodless uprising to end the Marcos dictatorship must never forget the crucial events that led to it.

“‘Pag sinabi kong galit kami sa magnanakaw, galit kami sa magnanakaw. Wala kaming sinasabing galit kami kung kanino. Walang tao. Kung may tinamaan, hindi namin kasalanan ni Senate President ‘yon, Lacson told Batanguenos in Batangas City.

[When I say we despise thieves, we despise thieves. We are not saying we are mad at someone. No person (was mentioned). If someone got hit by that, it’s not my fault or the Senate President’s.] Macon Ramos-Araneta

Partido Reporma’s chairman and standard-bearer also said he received a call from a supporter of a rival presidential candidate asking him to tone down his supposed attacks against his opponents.

“I told the person I wasn’t attacking anyone. I was attacking thieves, not any person in particular. When we were in Baguio (last weekend), I got a call, and he told me – this person was from Cebu – ‘Friend, please, the other person is asking if you could stop attacking him.’ I told him to give me proof that I was attacking a presidential candidate – there’s none,” Lacson said.

Lacson clarified that he and Sotto are speaking in general terms whenever they talk about their shared advocacy of getting rid of political thieves in public.

The former national police chief added that some candidates were using his and Sotto’s platforms against them, to fuel black propaganda with a message that they were undermining other candidates.

“They were producing videos to the effect that on our spiels against thieves, we were referring to a particular presidential candidate, with an implication, implying that I was doing the black propaganda. That’s not true, I deny that. I saw in the video that it came from a certain Jonathan, which was only shared to us,” Lacson said.

“Everybody’s using everyone else. For us, we’re not using anybody. We are presenting our platforms and describing others in general terms. We are maintaining what we (in Partido Reporma) agreed upon (at the start of the campaign). Politics of platforms, programs, plans, not politics of destroying the other candidates,” the three-term senator added.

On martial law, Lacson said: “How can we forget about our national treasury being ransacked? Even the Central Bank did not have an inkling that it was raided, our reserves were gone, there was no money to be found. Where did it go? How can we forget that?”

“Do we really want to go through the same experience again where because of abuses our nation went into a state of chaos? Even our moral values were swept under the rug because everyone was just sucking up to the one in power. That was one of the worst things that happened,” the presidential aspirant noted.

Lacson said the culture of patronage politics that reigned supreme during the martial law years—and even in the administrations that succeeded it—is one thing that he will get rid of should Filipinos entrust with him and Sotto the leadership of government for the next six years.

“That (patronage politics) continues to this day, right? That’s why we say when you’re trying to lead there must only be one standard, not double standard. The ones who know how to suck up are treated with kid-gloves and the ones who don’t get punished. We cannot rule that way, we cannot govern that way,” Lacson told reporters.

While he was aware of the disgruntlement of some junior military officers at the time, Lacson said he was not recruited to join the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) even though it was commanded by his classmate Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan, who was then an army colonel.

Lacson at the time was assigned to the Metropolitan Command (MetroCom) of the Military Intelligence and Security Group (MISG), which was then headed by Col. Rolando Abadilla, who was assassinated in 1996.

Based on historical accounts, RAM played a crucial role in the mutiny that spurred the EDSA People Power Revolution. The group was credited for standing up against the rampant corruption and patronage politics that reigned during the Marcos regime, which Lacson acknowledged.

“There were so many abuses, so it resulted in the EDSA Revolution. I was in the military then. I wasn’t part of the RAM, even if Senator Gringo was my classmate, because I was assigned to the MetroCom,” Lacson said.

  “Probably because I was working under Colonel Abadilla, so I was not approached by my mistah (classmate) to (join them). Perhaps they were thinking I would be more of a security risk. I guess they just did not know me too well at the time that I am a man of principles,” the presidential candidate added.

Sotto, meanwhile, cautioned Filipinos against believing the outright lies being peddled by some camps just to sell them on the idea that martial law was good for the country. He said there was no such thing as “historical revisionism” because “you can’t revise something that already happened.”

“History is history. It has happened. How can you forget that? If you want to forget about it, that’s up to you, right? But history will never forget history. That’s how I view it,” Sotto said.

“Personally, I will never forget it because I was right in the middle of it,” he added.

Sotto, who was still very active in show business in 1986, recalled he was in front of his recording studio in Libis, Quezon City near White Plains Avenue in Camp Aguinaldo when the EDSA Revolution was unfolding.

The vice-presidential candidate noted that the tense social and political environment at the time with all the soldiers and civilians around inspired him to write the song “Magkaisa” (Unite), which captured the quintessential people power spirit of Filipinos that day.

Sotto expressed that Filipinos have everything to be proud of when they toppled a dictator during the 1986 EDSA People Power revolution because it inspired other nations that were also suffering under military suppression to fight for their own freedoms as well.

Lacson and Sotto are currently running for president and vice president in the 2022 national elections with the goal of restoring public trust in government through the principles of ‘leadership by example,’ promotion of good governance and by getting rid of political thieves.

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