'Gloria wanted me as runningmate'
MANILA, Philippines - Fresh from his legal victory in the Kuratong Baleleng case, Senator Panfilo Lacson said he has forgiven but not forgotten his political enemies, including Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and husband Mike Arroyo.
"Well para di ako ma-plagiarism eto sinabi ni Kennedy: 'Forgive your enemies but don't forget their names.' I will never forget that name Arroyo…malaking epekto ng 9 years na pang-aapi ng mag-asawang Arroyo hanggang mamatay nako. Mula 2001 hanggang bago sila umalis, talagang di ako tinigilan ng problema," he said.
Lacson today revealed that his problems with the Arroyos began after he turned down a supposed offer from the Arroyo camp for him to be her running mate in the 2004 presidential elections.
He said while he was still Philippine National Police (PNP) chief under the Estrada administration, a friend he has in common with the Arroyos approached him with the offer.
"They may deny this. When I was chief PNP…at one point I was offered through a common friend. I was offered to be the possible vice presidential candidate of (GMA)."
Lacson speculated that Arroyo's inner circle probably wanted him for to be her running mate because he was a potential rival in the 2004 elections. Lacson noted his high approval ratings then.
He said that after Edsa Dos catapulted then Vice President Arroyo to the presidency, he was also offered an ambassadorial post as a dignified exit for a PNP Chief.
"I was summoned or invited by then presumptive executive secretary Renato de Villa and I was offered an ambassadorial post. I didn't bother to look at the shortlist. May message si then uupong president dahil kakatanggal lang ni President Estrada. Mamili ako ng ambassadorial post."
Lacson said he declined since he does not consume alcohol, a key feature in the socials that ambassadors frequent in their work.
He said he just handed his courtesy resignation, only to be frustrated days later because news broke out that Arroyo sacked him.
Lacson added that his next frustration with the Arroyos happened after he was elected senator. He said a common friend invited him to dinner at Mrs. Arroyo's ancestral home.
"I made it clear sa nag-invite sakin na sino nag-i-invite. I wanted to impart na ako'y naimbitahan. Sabi niya di importante sino nag invite e nagkaroon kami ng quiet and private dinner at usapan nga basta walang nag imbita."
Lacson said he was surprised because days later, then Presidential Spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao announced that Lacson got himself invited to the dinner. "That was the start of the miserable life of Sen. Lacson which lasted 9 years," he said.
The senator said he made peace with another political critic, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who wanted Lacson arrested for the Kuratong Baleleng case.
Lacson was already in hiding when de Lima took office under the Aquino administration."I made peace with Secretary de Lima. I initiated the offer of peace kaya wala naman basta di ko lang kakalimutan mga pangalan nila," he said.
Lacson said he would have wanted to sponsor de Lima's confirmation by the Commission on Appointments except that his term as CA member for the Senate has already expired.