Presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed Thursday that he felt insulted after the second “unity talks” with Liberal Party leaders.
He said the opposition apparently attempted to push for a tandem of Vice President Leni Robredo, the Liberal Party chairperson, and Senate President Vicente Sotto III – Lacson’s running mate — in the 2022 polls.
Sotto on Thursday brushed aside reports of the “Leni-Tito” tandem in the upcoming elections and said there would be no more unity talks.
“Too late for us for any unity talks even at that time,” said Sotto, who has been faring well in recent vice presidential surveys.
During the Pandesal Forum Thursday, Lacson said that after his second meeting with LP leaders—including Robredo, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Sotto—he realized that “unification was not the objective” of the opposition.
“They were not clear on which camp the unification efforts will be under,” he said.
“During our second meeting, using hand motion, Senator Drilon apparently pointed his fingers at VP Leni and Senate President Sotto for a possible tandem,” the former police chief added.
Lacson said that while he did not see Drilon’s hand gestures himself, Sotto told him about it after their meeting.
“(Sotto) told me ‘Didn’t you notice the fingers of Frank? It was pointed at me and VP Leni. So effectively, telling me to my face to withdraw and create a new tandem between the Vice President and the Senate president. So, for me, you know, when I was told that, I felt insulted. Had I noticed it, I could’ve stood up and left that meeting,” he added.
The LP and Robredo camps have yet to react to this at press time.
Sotto, meanwhile, said that he and Lacson have already organized their network and set up nationwide, following their “listening tour” of the provinces before they became the first pair to declare their candidacies.
“We are now forming a cooperative alliance between NUP, NPC, REPORMA, and UN,” said Sotto, who is running under the banner of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) where he sits as its president.
Lacson is the standard bearer of Partido Reporma. Prior to the filing of their certificates of candidacy for president, Robredo met with Lacson, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, and Senator Manny Pacquiao separately to discuss the idea of a united opposition ticket.