WITH 24 more days to go before the May 9, 2022 elections, five presidential candidates are allegedly scheduled to hold a joint press conference today, Easter Sunday.
The reason behind the gathering isn't clear but it was confirmed by Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd, running mate of Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.
“I'm not aware of the purpose. I was just invited by Sen Ping. He said five presidential candidates are meeting and are inviting their running mates. That's all I know,” said Sotto in a text message when sought for comment on Saturday.
The presidential aspirants who were said to be attending aside from Lacson are Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso of Aksyon Demokratiko, Leodegario “Ka Leody” de Guzman of Partido ng Manggagawa, Promdi standard-bearer Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.
Of the five, Moreno and Lacson announced the press conference separately on Saturday. It will be held at 11 a.m. on Sunday at the Rigodon Ballroom, Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City.
When asked for confirmation, the De Guzman camp said there was no invitation to the labor leader. A check by the Times also showed that De Guzman was scheduled to campaign in Mindanao starting today. There has been no confirmation from Pacquiao's team.
Robredo's camp has kept mum about the meeting when sought for a reaction.
Domagoso himself did not elaborate on the reason for the joint press conference.
In his previous pronouncements, Domagoso rejected any possible behind-the-scenes talks with other camps to discuss withdrawal and support for Robredo.
“I don't do backdoor sa isang hostile na opponent (with a hostile opponent),” the Manila chief executive said last April 13 during a media interview in his campaign sortie in Porac, Pampanga.
Domagoso said helping Vice President Robredo is far-fetched because of the way her supporters have treated him and his campaign.
“You know for a fact that they've been attacking us in their GCs (group chats). They keep on saying that I will withdraw by May 1 and then I will be appointed as DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) secretary,” he added.
There have been calls for other candidates, including Mayor Domagoso, to make the “supreme sacrifice” because withdrawal would supposedly help prevent another Marcos presidency.
However, Domagoso said it is not he who should be making this sacrifice.
“What's better, maybe, is if it's the candidate who is not growing because they are talking to their own echo chambers who should also do the same, supreme sacrifice,” he said.
Aksyon Demokratiko had rejected the calls for other presidential candidates to “unite” under Robredo to beat frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. of Partido Reporma and son of the late president Ferdinand Marcos.
According to Aksyon Demokratiko chairman Ernest Ramel, this suggestion is “full of holes” and that Domagoso is actually the candidate who has the biggest chance to win in the May 9 presidential elections.
Robredo, who is seen as Marcos' closest rival despite being a far second based on pre-election surveys, is said to be picking up steam.
Lacson, who has been fifth in the same polls, has rejected the results, demanding transparency in their methodology.
Bunched with Robredo are Domagoso and Pacquiao.
There are actually 10 presidential candidates. The four others are former Palace spokesman Alberto Abella, an independent; former secretary of National Defense Norberto Gonzales of the Philippine Democratic-Socialist Party; Faizal Mangondato of the Katipunan of Kamalayang Kayumanggi; and Jose Montemayor of the Democratic Party of the Philippines.
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