Sen. Panfilo Lacson formally joined the revived Partido para sa Demokratikong Reporma (Partido Reporma) as its chairman on Thursday, saying he is ready and prepared to face the many challenges besetting the country through his presidential run.
“These challenges, including the looming ones that we haven’t discussed yet, I have full knowledge of—like most likely a power shortage in middle of next year, [and] the depressing educational crisis confronting our younger generation of Filipinos, to name some,” he said.
Meanwhile, officials of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) invited Lacson for a dialogue after the filing of certificates of candidacy in October, NPC chairman and Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Thursday.
Sotto is Lacson’s running mate for vice president, and they were the first to declare their candidacies for the 2022 national elections.
In related news, the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said ex-senator Antonio Trillanes IV “has always been a valued ally” of the opposition.
This was after Trillanes warned the Vice President that his Magdalo Party, would pull their support for Robredo should she give way to the Lacson-Sotto tandem.
Both the Vice President and Lacson confirmed meeting last Friday to try and unite forces against the administration slate next year.
Lacson took his oath as Reporma chairman before party founder and former Defense Secretary Renato de Villa, while former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez took his oath as party president.
“I just took my oath as Party chairman before our Chairman Emeritus, former ES, SND, CSAFP, Chief PC, Renato de Villa at 10am today, with Cong and former House Speaker Pantaleon ‘Bebot’ Alvarez as party president and a few original Reporma founders and members way back in 1998,” said Lacson in a tweet.
He said the party is now consolidating its old and new members.
His advocacies, Lacson said, are well-aligned with those of Reporma, like people’s sovereignty and democracy, decentralization and devolution of powers, social justice responsibility, strong economic foundation, environmental awareness, and voters’ education, among others.
De Villa founded Reporma in 1997. It aims to “continue and improve the landmark reforms achieved during the Ramos administration that broke up monopolies and leveled the playing field for the improvement of public service, progress of the economy, and the benefit of all Filipinos.”
The party became dormant after the 2004 elections and was revived in 2020 by former Speaker Alvarez, erstwhile ally of President Rodrigo Duterte under the ruling PDP-Laban.
Meanwhile, Lacson said Sotto informed him that NPC officials are open to a dialogue after they file their certificates of candidacy in October.
Lacson said he and Sotto are “open to alliances with other political parties who may be willing to work with us for change for the betterment of our country and people.”
“They (NPC officials) want to invite Ping to a dialogue before October when many of our party mates are here in [the National Capital Region],” Sotto said in a text message to reporters.
Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson, said they would still want to work with Trillanes to be able toward a united opposition for 2022 polls despite his latest tirade against them.
“I would still like to think that there is a lot of room to work with him. There is still a lot of common principles. We have nothing but (the) highest respect for him,” he said in an interview on ANC’s Dateline.
He urged Trillanes to “always reach out” to them since they still consider him an ally.