Reporma drops Ping for Leni

Alvarez admits party just being realistic to shift support to Robredo

The Partido Reporma on Thursday junked its presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson in favor of Vice President Leni Robredo, leaving the senator with no political party less than 50 days before Election Day.

FROM PING TO PINK. Vice President Leni Robredo joins Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, president of Partido Reporma, Gov. Edwin Jubahib, and other local officials in a press conference in Tagum City on Thursday, March 24. The political party, which used to support the presidential bid of Sen. Panfilo Lacson, is now backing the campaign of Robredo.

In a statement, the party president Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez praised Lacson but said Robredo’s campaign was picking up enough momentum to challenge the frontrunner, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“Time and context framed the narrative of 2022 in a way that gave traction, rightly or wrongly, to other candidacies instead. This is a difficult fact which takes courage to admit,” Alvarez said.

“Right now, two candidates have pulled away from the pack, and while the candidate second in ranking still lags far behind from the frontrunner, it is evident that her campaign has gained, and continues to gain significant traction,” he said, referring to Robredo.

“There is much potential there. She has also shown that she represents ideals which are substantially in line with the aims of Partido Reporma: to reform government and provide a better future for Filipinos.”

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Lacson resigned as chairman of the party and said he would run as an independent, while his mouthpiece, Ashley Acedillo, resigned as its spokesman.

“In view of Senator Panfilo Lacson’s resignation as chairman of Partido Reporma, and given the fact that I am totally committed to support him in his candidacy for president, I am also tendering my resignation as the party spokesman effectively immediately,” Acedillo said.

He said he would be the official spokesman for Lacson’s campaign.

Alvarez, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, heaped praise on Lacson, pointing to his achievements as head of the Philippine National Police, and later as a senator, where he authored important laws, including free irrigation for farmers, the National ID system, and pay increases for the military and uniformed personnel.

In the same statement, Alvarez however praised Lacson saying: “There is no doubt that, after a thorough search, we found a once in a generation candidate, a rare gem who devoted his entire life to exceptional public service, risked life and limb for his countrymen, cleaned the ranks of the police force when he led that institution, fought against corruption, and advocated consistently and credibly for good governance.

“He is also the guardian of the national budget, protecting the treasury from those who seek to plunder it. He knows that corruption is not a victimless crime, and with every peso lost, Filipinos tragically have less health care, education, infrastructure, and economic opportunities,” Alvarez said.

“Last, but not the least, his advocacy for budget reform is the key to bringing development to the countryside.”

But he said given the current situation, the party’s leaders on the ground made the hard choice.

“With a heavy heart, many members of Partido Reporma are constrained to consider a candidate other than their first choice,” he said.

“We reasonably believe that the only realistic option at this point, with roughly a month and a half left, is to converge with Leni Robredo’s campaign. Together, we will pursue the realization of our collective aspirations to improve the chances of ordinary Filipinos at a better life.”

Rep. Monsour Del Rosario, who was part of Lacson’s senatorial slate, shifted his support to Robredo.

“Today, I pledge my support to our Honorable Vice President Leni Robredo in her bid to become the next President of the Philippines,” he said.

Del Rosario said he believes that Robredo’s mission to reform and uplift the country aligns with his own fight to bring about real positive change in the lives of the ordinary Filipino, especially those who have been neglected by past administrations.

Del Rosario said he respects Lacson’s decision to resign from Partido Reporma.

“He is a good man with a sincere heart and an undying will to serve the Filipino people. I believe he can still do many great things for our country and I wish him all the best,” he said.

Another Partido Reporma Senate bet, Dr. Minguita Padilla, said she will discuss her plans first with Lacson, as the lawmaker was the one who invited her to join the party.

She noted that her major advocacies are in line with Lacson’s.

“He is an old friend. I will continue to support him but we will have to talk soon,” Padilla said.

Guillermo Eleazar, the former Philippine National Police chief who filed his certificate of candidacy for senator as a substitute candidate of the Partido Reporma, has yet to comment on the switch.

Robredo welcomed the support of Partido Reporma and said it did not matter that Alvarez had attacked her in the past.

“The reforms, we have the same objective—to fix our country through good governance,” she said.

“We both agreed on what we are fighting for. Maybe we had some differences in the past, and most probably we were not then aligned on some things. But what I always say is, what is important is, there are things that we have agreed upon,” she added.

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