By Ernie Reyes
GENERAL TRIAS, Cavite – The mudslinging is on for the 2022 national elections, Partido Reporma chairman and standard-bearer Panfilo “Ping” Lacson confirmed Friday, but the greater enemy for him and running mate Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III is the country’s myriad problems, not their rival candidates.
“‘Di ba, naririnig natin katakut-takot na ‘yung siraan. Hindi pa nga nagsisimula ‘yung official campaign, kasi February 9 pa e. Pero ngayon napakaaga, marami nang gibaan,” Lacson said as Partido Reporma held its latest “Online Kumustahan” leg at the General Trias Sports Park here.
[We’ve been hearing relentless mudslinging, even if the official campaign period has not yet started. It will start on February 9, but as early as now, mudslinging has been running rampant.]
“Kami ang usapan namin, hindi (siraan). Ipakita natin ‘yung ating sarili, ipakilala natin ‘yung ating sarili, ano ba ‘yung ating mai-o-offer sa ating mga kababayan? Ang usapan namin, hindi natin kalaban ‘yung ating mga karibal. Hindi natin kalaban ‘yung mga tumatakbong pangulo, hindi natin kalaban ‘yung tumatakbong mga pangalawang pangulo,” the longtime public servant added.
[For us, we don’t discuss that. We are determined to present ourselves, to show them who we are, and what we can offer to our countrymen. When we talk, we say our rivals are not our enemies. Our enemies are not those running for president or vice president.]
“Ang kalaban po ng ating bansa: kahirapan. Hindi sila. Ang kalaban ng ating bansa: katiwalian. Ang kalaban ng ating bansa: ‘yung kawalan ng hanapbuhay dahil sa pandemic. Ang kalaban ng ating bansa, ‘yung napakalaking utang ng ating bansa na pumapalo na, P11.97-trillion na ngayon,” Lacson added.
[Our country’s real enemy is this – poverty. Not them. Our country’s real enemy? Corruption. Our country’s real enemy? The loss of livelihood owing to the pandemic. Our country’s real enemy? The huge debt that now has reached P11.97 trillion.]
Before the current administration ends, the 18-year senate veteran said the national debt will balloon to a projected P13.42 trillion – meaning every one of the 111 million Filipinos at present will already owe at least P121,000 each, even the newborns.
“Alam niyo ‘yung trilyon, isang libong bilyon ‘yon, kailan natin mababayaran? Kaya pagka nagkamali po tayo ng pipiliin, baka lalo tayong bumaon sa utang, baka abutin tayo ng P20-trillion,” he warned.