No caravan was needed as supporters patiently waited for Partido Reporma chairman and standard-bearer Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III outside the Dumaguete City Airport on Saturday morning.
Lacson and Sotto arrived one after the other, welcomed by some local officials of the “City of Gentle People” and by Emmanuel Gaisano, who was five years old when the Partido Reporma chairman and his police team saved him from kidnappers in Cebu over 30 years ago.
The longtime public servants had a tete-a-tete with Gaisano and his family along with Dumaguete City officials before they proceeded to the Royal Suites Inn to talk to local business leaders and grace a press conference.
Also with Lacson and Sotto were Partido Reporma senatorial candidates Dr. Minguita Padilla and retired national police chief General Guillermo Eleazar.
The veteran senators shared their reform program that aims to stamp out “kotong” (bribe-seeking) and other forms of corruption, gives more opportunities to the business sector, and improves Filipinos’ health amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Dumaguete is the second stop of the Lacson-Sotto “Online Kumustahan” tour of Central Visayas following a successful sortie in Cebu City and Naga City (Cebu) on Friday. The tandem will proceed to Northern Samar on Sunday before returning to Manila.
The Lacson-Sotto tandem meanwhile said it will not seek the endorsements of political leaders or any public personalities.
Lacson and Sotto stressed they will continue to campaign based on their own merits, as they have much to offer the Filipino people in terms of solutions to the humongous problems facing the Philippines.
“All endorsements are welcome, but we’re not actively seeking it. .. We’ll not resort to that but any endorsement is an addition whether from the lowest barangay official all the way to the President,” Lacson.
The Lacson-Sotto team made the statement days after the camp of Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said it is only natural for the presidential candidate to hope for President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement since he has always been openly seeking support from everyone.
Domagoso last Tuesday said he would not refuse an endorsement from President Duterte should the chief executive decide to raise his hand now that Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has withdrawn from the presidential race.
“Senate President Sotto and I are used to do it with our own efforts, we have our public service record. An endorsement is a bonus but we’d rather stand on our own feet,” said Lacson, pointing out the importance self-respect and dignity.
For his part, Sotto said that while an endorsement is welcome, votes are what will matter most at the end.
“Endorsements are good but we need votes,” he said. With Joel E. Zurbano