Ping-Poe in 2016? Lacson, Grace thank endorsers
(The Philippine Star) - March 26, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Retired military and police officers urged yesterday former senator Panfilo Lacson and Sen. Grace Poe to run together for higher office in 2016.

In a manifesto published in newspapers, including The STAR, the retired officers said the nation needs “a national leadership that is competent, incorruptible and does not adhere to traditional politics.”

“We perceive that the strong-willed, disciplined and decisive service reputation of former senator Panfilo Lacson and the untarnished and compassionate brand of leadership of Sen. Grace Poe would be the best combination to serve the needs and greatest interest of the Filipino people,” read the manifesto.

In separate statements yesterday, Lacson and Poe thanked the officers for their endorsement but were noncommittal on their 2016 plans.

“We urge former senator Panfilo M. Lacson and Sen. Grace Poe to forge a political alliance and run in tandem for higher office in 2016,” the officers said.

They said the 2016 elections “offer us a crucial occasion to choose our highest national officials on the basis of leadership qualities and qualifications that match the most urgent problems of our country.”

“Certain recent events, occurrences and issues, which caused much grief, outrage and anxiety to our nation, behoove our people to look upon the imperatives, qualities and requirements of national leadership with critical discernment.”

Mentioned in the manifesto were the Mamasapano clash, armed rebellion, terrorism, criminality, natural disasters, the pork barrel scam, Metro Manila traffic, port congestion and the “miserable state” of the Metro Rail Transit and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Signing the manifesto were 35 retired officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and the defunct Philippine Constabulary.

They included Col. Mariano Santiago, P/Insp. Luciano Caneda, Col. Raoul Cauton, Maj. Fiorello Adriano, Brig. Gen. Carmelito Beltran, P/Dir. Gil Meneses, P/Dep. Dir. Gen. Emelito Sarmiento, Maj. Gen. Romulo Cabantac Jr., Brig. Gen. Dante Costes, Maj. Gen. Gerardo Layug, Maj. Gen. Marlou Salazar, P/C Insp. Ricardo Callejo, Brig. Gen. Rodrigo Gutang, Rear Adm. Rodolfo Rabago and Commodore Liberato Lazo.

Others were Brig. Gen. Oscar Cabaron, Col. Edgardo Abesamis, Col. Manuel Espejo, Commodore Rene Leandro Ebro, Lt. Gen. Edilberto Adan, Brig. Gen. Rosalino Alquiza, Maj. Gen. Jose Lapus, Maj. Gen. Rodolfo Garcia, P/Supt. Antonio Ricafort, Col. Guillermo Cunanan, Col. Victor Erfe, Col. Danilo Perico, P/Dir. Orville Gabuna, Brig. Gen. Miguel Sol, Brig. Gen. Mamerto Bocanegra, Lt. Gen. Raul Urgello, Brig. Gen. Romulo Cabantac, Brig. Gen. Ismael Musico, Cdr. Gene Juan, and Lt. Gen. Edgardo Batenga.

In a text message, Poe expressed gratitude for the support expressed by the retired military and police officers.

“I wish to thank the retired military and police officers for their kind words of approval of my performance as senator,” she said.

She reassured them that she will “strive to continue to do what I believe is best for our country.”

Poe said she has high respect for Lacson’s record as a public servant, and “to be regarded and mentioned with him in the same breath is a privilege.”

“This expression of support among other equally important factors will definitely be considered in whatever decision I will make in the future,” she said.

Lacson said he will consider the encouragement from his former colleagues in the military and the police once he decides to run again for higher office next year.

Recent events will guide him in making any decision, he added.

“As long as I see a citizenry that’s more critical and more discerning because of some crucial events that have unfolded and brought our country to a different level of challenge and struggle, I will be properly guided in making an enlightened decision in the coming months or even weeks,” he said.

Lacson said the elections of 2010 in the case of President Aquino, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Poe have shown how political landscapes and fortunes can change overnight.

“This is another guiding factor that I will consider in firming up my decision,” he said.

Lacson thanked his former comrades in the uniformed services for their manifesto urging him to run for higher office in 2016.

“They have been in actual battlefields themselves at some point in their careers and have been the vanguards of law and order in our country,” he said.

“Being primary stakeholders of our quest for peace and harmony for the future of our country, I can understand the significance of their collective sentiments.”

Lacson said he admires Poe for her “sobriety and professionalism.”

“As I follow the young political career of Sen. Grace Poe, I can’t help but admire her for not being a traditional politician,” he said.

“Her sobriety and professionalism in showing a commanding presence and leadership even in the presence of her veteran colleagues in the Senate are truly commendable.”

– Alexis Romero, Christina Mendez, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Jose Rodel Clapano

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