Lacson, Sotto pin hope on swing votes

INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd. PHOTO BY BENEDICT ABAYGAR, JR.

INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd said they were counting on a swing votes on May 9, election day.

“People can change their minds in a split second. Even after entering the polling booth, you can still change your mind. That's why we keep telling voters to be discerning and consider who among the candidates are the most qualified and experienced,” Lacson said in a news conference in Rizal on Friday.

Sotto added that “anything can swing” even three to four days before the poll because of technology that made news available to people 24/7.

“Technology can disseminate news fast and make people change their minds quickly. A double-digit advantage of a candidate could be surmounted in a matter of days,” he said.

The latest nationwide survey by the RP-Mission and Development Foundation Inc. said Lacson has a measly 7 percent voters' support while Sotto got 40 percent, not very far from the 51 percent received by fellow vice presidential bet Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Lacson said he is willing to engage his fellow candidates in a debate to determine who among them is the most qualified and competent to lead the country.

“I am willing to debate with any one of them if they want to argue who among us is the most qualified and competent to run the nation.”

Lacson and Sotto cautioned that a wrong decision on election day could haunt the Philippines in the next six years.

“If we picked the wrong leaders like those who steal then for the next six years, we Filipinos will be robbed. Do you want that? Nobody wants that,” Lacson said.

“If we choose someone who is scheming and insincere, we will spend the next six years being lied to. Do you want that? No,” he added.

Lacson warned that voting for someone unqualified and incompetent would make the nation sink.

Sotto, for his part, said that Lacson has the experience to implement laws that would solve the country's woes.

“We have so many good laws, many of which we crafted ourselves. Give us a chance to lead and we assure you we will make sure the laws are properly enforced,” Sotto said.

Malacañang said the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no authority to conduct an inquiry on President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs.

The Palace issued the statement after presidential candidate Leodegario “Ka Leody” de Guzman said he would let the ICC investigate the alleged abuses committed during Duterte's drug war if elected in the May 9 poll.

“We reiterate our position that the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction to probe our campaign against illegal drugs,” Acting Palace spokesman Martin Andanar said in a statement.

Andanar added that the ICC might only intervene in the event Philippine courts refused to investigate the matter.

“This is not the case in the Philippines where our criminal justice system remains capable and functional and our legal institutions continue to be independent and impartial. The ICC is the court of last resort utilized when a state party is unwilling to investigate and prosecute those who violate laws,” he added.

De Guzman in an earlier interview cited government data, saying that around 6,000 suspects were killed in anti-illegal drugs operations since Duterte came to power in 2016.

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