“Now that Robredo is way ahead of him in surveys, Lacson, as an officer and a gentleman, should give way to Robredo.”
Lest I be misconstrued as anti-Lacson, I would like to emphasize that I have always admired Senator Panfilo Lacson since he became senator. He is conscientious, hard-working and principled. But above all, he has been consistent and uncompromising in his fight against corruption in government.
But I also have to be candid that Lacson will not win in next year’s election. He will suffer the same fate that he had when he ran and lost in 2004 to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Some analysts even said that had Lacson not run, Fernando Poe, Jr. would have won notwithstanding the Hello Garci scandal. Anyway, that is history now.
Today, the reality is that Lacson is on the tail-end of recent surveys among presidential candidates. In the SWS survey conducted Oct. 21-23, 2021 Lacson got a measly 5 percent of the respondents. In that survey, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos got 47 percent, followed by Vice President Leni Robredo with 18 percent, Mayor Isko Domagoso with 13 percent and Manny Pacquiao with 9 percent.
In the Publicus Asia survey conducted from Nov. 16-18, 2021, Lacson also got the lowest score with 2.9 percent, lower than Pacquiao’s 3 percent, Isko’s 6.9 percent, Robredo’s 15.4 percent and Marcos’ 56.7 percent.
Another drawback of Lacson is that he and Vicente Sotto III are running not in tandem under a common political party which is what is needed as a team. Initially it was announced that the two would run under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of which Sotto is the chairman. All of a sudden Lacson announced that he would run under the Partido Reporma of Gen. Renato de Villa which he resuscitated and of which he now president.
Because of this weird combination, it is no wonder that Lacson and Sotto are drawing thin crowds whenever they campaign. In his home province of Cavite, Lacson may even lose because the province is controlled by the Senator Bong Revilla who is campaigning for the BBM-Sara team. Lacson and Sotto are now mostly campaigning through social media with virtual meetings held with local officials. This is the most ineffective way of securing voters’ support.
Also, in August this year, Lacson told Robredo that a sure-fire formula to unify the opposition would be for both of them to run and whoever would lag behind in surveys would withdraw to give way to the other. Now that Robredo is way ahead of him in surveys, Lacson, as an officer and a gentleman, should give way to Robredo.
Perhaps with Lacson’s withdrawal, the other candidates may realize that they too are not going to win and would decide to rally behind Robredo who is the only candidate who can possibly thwart another Marcos as our next president.
The famous Chinese general and war tactician Sun Tzu once said that “the greatest victory is one which requires no battle.”
By now, Lacson should realize that being president of this country is not his destiny. But he will still be “victorious” if he realizes this sad reality and withdraws.
After three years, he can run again as senator; he would be a sure winner and would even be a topnotcher. Perhaps, it is his destiny to be a perpetual critic and fiscalizer of any administration.
Alito L. Malinao is the former news editor of this paper. He is the author of the textbook, “Journalism for Filipinos.”