Isko, Ping, Gonzales not backing out of prexy race for Leni

ON WITH THE RACE. Presidential candidates Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso (2nd from left), Panfilo "Ping" Lacson (2nd from right), and Norberto Gonzales (center) vow to continue their bid for the country's top post.

MAKATI CITY – Presidential candidates Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Senator Panfilo “Ping’ Lacson”, and former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales have assured the voters that they will never withdraw from the electoral race despite alleged attempts to lure them to quit and make the “ultimate sacrifice”.

“Ang message namin is wag kayong maniwala sa mga disinformation na may magwi-withdraw na isa sa amin, yun ang core message. I emphasize nobody will withdraw. Huwag na nating bilhin yung kanilang propaganda na may magwi-withdraw sa amin (Our message is, do not believe in disinformation that somebody from among us will withdraw, that’s the core message. Let us not buy their propaganda that one of us will withdraw),” Lacson said in a press briefing at the Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City.

This was seconded by Domagoso by saying, “Simula ngayon hanggang May 9, tuloy ang laban namin (From this day until May 9, we will continue the fight)”.

During the press conference, all the three candidates said they were urged to withdraw from their presidential bid as an “ultimate sacrifice” in favor of Vice President Leni Robredo.

They claimed that they were directly told by people from the Robredo camp to withdraw their candidacy in order to beat former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who remains to be the frontrunner in the surveys.

“Vice President Leni Robredo talked to me twice to unite under her. That’s not unification. Withdrawing our candidacies is out of the question,” Lacson said.

He clarified that he is not sure whether Robredo has knowledge of these attempts but emphasized that the people who talked to him were from the Vice President’s camp.

Lacson named former Quezon City Mayor Jun Simon and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as among those who asked that he back out of the elections.

This is apart from the twin “unification” talks with Robredo herself before the filing of her candidacy.

Despite all the negative implications against the lone female presidential contender, the three candidates stressed that they are not against her.

“This press conference is not all about Vice President Leni Robredo. This is also about (Ferdinand) Marcos (Jr.). I cannot believe that more than 50 percent of Filipinos are still Marcos loyalists. I think they just don’t like VP Robredo. We want to remind Filipinos that there are other candidates like us,” Lacson said, adding that the coming May election seemed to be focused only on the two candidates who are topping the surveys.

He emphasized to the media that the press conference was not anti-Leni. “Dun nyo kasi dinadala ‘yung tanong. ‘Yung iba kasi ‘pag nagtanong, parang may karga na eh (You are leading the questions towards that angle. Some of you ask questions that are malicious,” he chided some newsmen.

Gonzales agreed with Lacson that the press conference may seem to be against the Vice President but it is not, despite the fact that they were all offered to quit the race by some individuals from her camp.

The three candidates said they are offering themselves as another option to the Filipino people, especially those who are fed up with the war of political “colors”.

They added that they joined the presidential race to offer true service and solutions to the country’s woes, and not for any personal interests.

Domagoso added that it is for the love of the country and the Filipino people.

“Mahal lang nila nga sarili nila, hindi nila mahal ang bansa at ang Pilipino. Kasi kung mahal natin ang ating bansa at ang Pilipino, igagalang mo ang resulta ng eleksyon (They only love themselves, not the country nor the Filipinos. Because if you love the country and its people, you will respect the election result),” he said.

There were recent reports of Lacson and Domagoso supporters shifting to Robredo, who they say, has a higher chance of defeating Marcos in the coming election.


MAKATI CITY – Sen. Panfilo Lacson does not intend to ask any of his fellow presidential candidates to withdraw from the May 9 and hopes they will do the same.

In an interview after a press conference at The Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City, Lacson distanced himself from the “Leni withdraw” call of rival and outgoing Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.

He said withdrawing is a personal decision.

Domagoso and Lacson narrated anew previous attempts from the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo to make them back out and unite to support their fellow candidate.

“We have to clarify, kaming dalawa ni Senate President (and running mate Vicente Sotto III), ang message namin sa presscon na ito, we are not asking anybody to withdraw. Ayaw din namin na mananawagan sila na mag-withdraw kami in the same manner (We have to clarify, I and the Senate President, our message in this press conference is we are not asking anybody to withdraw. We also do not want anybody to call for our withdrawal in the same manner),” he said.

Domagoso’s running mate, Dr. Willie Ong, and former National Security adviser and Defense secretary Norberto Gonzales also joined the media event that reiterated their common stand to fight electoral sabotage.

Lacson likewise rebutted several leading questions from the media that the press conference was anti-Robredo.

Rather, they sent the core message that the public should not believe and spread fake information, like their alleged withdrawal.

“’Yan ang dominant na messaging nila, parang kino-confuse. Maraming nagtatanong nga sa amin na totoo ba na magwi-withdraw si Senator Ping. We have to correct over and over and over again. Nagsasawa na rin kami kaka-correct kaya mabuti na rin itong nangyari, once and for all (That is their dominant messaging that seems to confuse [the public]. Many are asking us if it is true that Senator Ping will withdraw. We have to correct over and over and over again. We are getting exhausted correcting it that’s why it is good that this [the press conference] happened, once and for all),” he said.

Sotto said Domagoso urging Robredo to withdraw was his personal opinion, as the mayor himself underscored.

Malinaw ang sinabi ni Mayor Isko. Sabi niya ‘personal ko lang ito ah‘. Hindi ba kayo nakikinig? Sabi lang niya ako lang ito, hindi sila kasali dito. Ganun ang sabi niya (The statement of Mayor Isko is clear. He said it was his personal [opinion]. Were you not listening? He said ‘it is just me, they are not included in this.’ That’s what he said),” Sotto said.