Senator Panfilo Lacson and running mate Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday vowed to devote more time to expand their platform of good governance ahead of the 2022 national elections only after their duties at the Senate are done for the 18th Congress.
Congress will adjourn on December 17 for the Christmas break and will return on January 17. It will then adjourn anew on February 4 to give way for the start on Feb. 7 of the national campaign for the May 2022 elections
“Senators first, candidates next: Faithful to our oath and true to our word, Tito Sotto and I have always prioritized our Senate duties over campaign sorties and events,” Lacson said on his Twitter account.
Among the cancellations the tandem has made was their weekly “Meet The Press” forum on November 11 owing to the ongoing deliberations on the national budget.
Partido Reporma also holds its “Online Kumustahan” led by Lacson and Sotto on weekends, to coincide with their off-days from the Senate.
Lacson has also said he is wary of holding parades or caravans because Partido Reporma is focused on delivering its platforms, discussing the hot issues of the day, and increasing voters’ knowledge of the country’s problems to come up with a greater solution for them.
“It’s better to discuss the issues and the problems, and to offer solutions to them, instead of those – not exactly senseless, but I think it’s a waste of energy if we don’t discuss the problems first,” said Lacson.
Lacson and Sotto, who have a combined 42 years of serving in the Senate, continue to scrutinize the national budget for 2022 and push legislation to improve the lives of Filipinos, among their other duties.
Senators are working double time to pass the proposed National Expenditure Program for 2022 – an election-year budget – before yearend, otherwise, the government would be forced to operate on a reenacted budget.
Meanwhile, the tandem has routinely cancelled other appointments to give more time to Senate hearings, keeping a promise they made last July when they first revealed their intentions to run for President and Vice President.
“We’re both never absent, never late! That’s why we’re not going to neglect our work… I don’t see any problem at all.”
Even as they started consulting with local government leaders, political parties, and businessmen through Partido Reporma’s “Online Kumustahan” programs, Lacson and Sotto—as among the most senior members of the Senate—still actively participated in plenary debates and committee hearings.
Sotto has also physically presided over the Senate sessions even when the chamber switched to a hybrid online/in-person format when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country last year.
The Senate President has said that the best way for incumbent senators to campaign, regardless of the positions they are aiming for, is to be “diligent” in their lawmaking duties now.
“I’ve mentioned it before: the best way to campaign is to work, to work hard. That is the best way to campaign, especially now na flesh to flesh, handshaking is not possible. The best way to campaign is hard work. Be diligent in your work, do good for your countrymen, do good for the country, and they will see, the people will see,” Sotto said.