Lacson quits Partido Reporma to run as independent

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines (Update 3; 3:50 p.m.) — Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, who is vying for the presidency in this year's elections, announced on Thursday that he is resigning from the Partido Reporma, after the political party decided to endorse another presidential candidate. 

Partido Reporma earlier announced him as their standard bearer. 

"I would like to make an announcement. Today, I officially announce my resignation as chairman and member of Partido ng Demokratikong Reporma, which effectively makes me an independent candidate," Lacson said in a press con on Thursday.

In a statement shared with reporters on Viber, he explained that it was the party's president and former House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who informed him Wednesday that the party's slate in Davao del Norte, led by Gov. Edwin Juhabib — party secretary general — chose to endorse another presidential bet. 

"Considering it is at the behest of these top-tier officials that I was recruited as a member and the party's standard-bearer and thereafter elected as its chairman, I believe it's only decent and proper —  consistent with my time-honored uncompromising principles — to make this decision," Lacson said. 

Former Rep. Ashley Acedillo, party spokesperson, said in a separate statement that he was resigning his party role as well. "I shall continue, henceforth, to support and campaign for Ping Lacson in his campaign for the presidency as his official spokesman," he said.

Lacson said that he will continue to run to be elected the country's chief executive "if God and the Filipino people will it, come May 9, 2022" and tha he harbors no ill-feelings towards any member of the Partido Reporma after they made their decision.

"To all the members and candidates of Partido Reporma outside of Davao del Norte...with or without party affiliation, I am not leaving you behind," he added.

In 2021, Lacson became the chairman of the political party. Partido Reporma was founded by ex-Defense Secretary Renato de Villa when he left the Lakas-NUCD after former President Fidel Ramos moved to endorse former speaker Jose De Venecia Jr. for the presidency in 1998.

Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said on Thursday that a change in a candidate's affiliation after the filing of their candidacy will have no bearing on the candidate.

"As far as the Comelec is concerned whatever his or her party was at the time of the filing of [candidacy] will be his party for purposes of the ballots," he said in a press con. 

Lacson launched his presidential campaign on February 8 in his hometown Imus, Cavite. The longtime public servant promises an administration run by good governance and free from corruption, where he can push for "leadership by example."

The lawmaker first ran for the country's top executive position in the 2004 polls, but lost to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Partido Reporma endorses Robredo

Later in the day, Alvarez of Partido Reporma endorsed the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo, saying that her beliefs are in line with the political party's thrust. 

"It is evident that her campaign has gained, and continues to gain, significant traction. There is much potential there. She has also shown that she represents ideals which are substantially in line with the aims of Partido Reporma: to reform government and provide a better future for Filipinos," he said in a press conference on Thursday. 

However, he recognized Lacson's track record as a public official, saying that leaders on the ground as well as supporters of other bets would want to campaign and vote for the lawmaker under ideal circumstances. 

"But the electoral terrain in 2022 is far from ideal, and fate had other plans. Time and context framed the narrative of 2022 in a way that gave traction, rightly or wrongly, to other candidacies instead," Alvarez said.




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