By Ernie Reyes
TANZA, Cavite — Partido Reporma chairman and standard-bearer Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said Friday he and his running mate Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III can still secure Cavite as one of their bailiwicks in the runup to the 2022 national elections judging from their past solid performances in the previous polls.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of their usual “Online Kumustahan” gatherings back in the province, the tandem expressed confidence that Cavitenos would still stand solidly behind them, considering that Lacson is the lone presidential aspirant coming from this vote-rich area.
“Pakiramdaman na lang ‘yan kung ano ‘yung perception namin. Ako, sa tingin ko makukuha pa rin namin ‘yung Cavite as a solid vote, ano. At least, kami ‘yung tatangkiliin. Malakas ‘yung aming pag-asa na kami ‘yung mananalo rito sa Cavite,” Lacson told reporters.
[Our perception is that it’s just a matter of instincts. I feel that we will still get Cavite as a solid vote. At least, they (voters) will still choose us. We have a strong hope that we will still win here in Cavite.]
Lacson, who hails from the City of Imus, said his fellow Cavitenos have been very instrumental in his successful political career. At an earlier speaking engagement in General Trias City, the longtime public servant noted that he always topped in the province during his previous senatorial races.
He recalled that even when he first ran for president in 2004, he won in Cavite despite facing strong challenges from the late actor Fernando Poe, Jr. and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who eventually won that election.
“Alam niyo, sa awa ng Diyos, mula’t sapul na ako’y tumakbo lagi akong number one dito sa aking lalawigan, at ito ay pasasalamat ko sa ating mga kababayan (You know, thank God, ever since I ran for political office, I was always number one here in our province and I am grateful to our countrymen because of that)” Lacson said in his speech at the General Trias Sports Park.
Nevertheless, Lacson said both he and Sotto are counting on the help of their close relatives and political allies in the province as well as their continued support in their respective electoral bids for the top two positions this election season.
The tandem met with local government and barangay officials in General Trias earlier in the morning including Mayor Antonio ‘Ony’ Ferrer, Congressman Luis ‘Jon-Jon’ Ferrer IV, Vice Mayor Maurito Sison and the members of their city council. Carmona Mayor Roy Loyola was also present.
Lacson and Sotto also had a lunch meeting with Cavite Governor Juanito Victor ‘Jonvic’ Remulla, who is a relative of both senators. Lacson said Remulla is related to him by consanguinity while Sotto has ties to the family of his mother by affinity.
Both senators said they did not discuss politics during their lunch meeting with Remulla and described it only as ‘simple gathering’ between and among close friends and relatives. Lacson, however, noted that the Cavite governor as well other local officials indicated that they will ‘help’ him and Sotto.
“Ang masasabi ko lang, dinalaw namin ‘yung sa Carmona, sa GenTri, sa Imus… So far, very encouraging ‘yung sinabi nilang commitment sa aming dalawa. Unang-una, wala naman silang mga kalaban e,” Lacson told reporters when asked if an endorsement for their tandem is in the offing.
(What I can only say is that we visited Carmona, General Trias, Imus… So far, we find the commitment [of the local government officials] for both of us very encouraging. In the first place, they don’t have any opponents [in the local elections].)
Lacson recognizes Cavite as one of the vote-rich areas in the country, considering its current 4.5 million population. “So, ‘pag ma-solidify mo ‘yung Cavite, napakalaking bagay actually (if you can solidify Cavite, that’s a big deal actually),” he said.
The Partido Reporma stalwart visited Imus City and Carmona, Cavite last November 5. He and Sotto went to General Trias City and Tanza this time around with Partido Reporma senatorial candidates Dr. Minguita Padilla and retired General Guillermo Eleazar; Monsour del Rosario joined the team virtually. Broadcaster and guest senatorial candidate Raffy Tulfo was also present in the gatherings. (ai/mtvn)