MANILA - Senate aspirant Herbert Bautista and re-electionist Win Gatchalian are no longer part of the Senate slate of presidential aspirant Panfilo Lacson and his running-mate Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, Lacson said in a tweet Thursday.
"Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian and ex-Mayor Herbert Bautista have made their choices of the principles and advocacies that they will embrace moving forward in this political exercise. Obviously, they are not ours," he wrote.
"They now cease to be part of the Lacson-Sotto team," he added.
In a Tuesday presser, Lacson told reporters that he got a letter from Bautista asking his permission to be the representative of the Nationalist People's Coalition to the "UniTeam" tandem of presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
"Si Herbert, sumulat sa aming dalawa. Hindi ko maintindihan kung paano ko sasagutin. Ang sabi niya, nagpapaalam siya kung pwedeng siya na yung NPC representative sa UniTeam."
He added, "Sinabi ko kay SP (Sotto), hindi ako concerned dito. Hindi naman ako NPC.
In a separate interview on ANC's "Dateline Philippines," Bautista said he decided to jump ship in December after Duterte-Carpio endorsed his senate bid.
"Well, last December, perhaps 13, Mayor Sara Duterte, vice-presidential candidate of UniTeam endorsed me as one of her senatorial [candidates]. Immediately I wrote a letter to the NPC leadership informing them that I’ve been adopted or endorsed by vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte."
"And then, moving forward I think a few days before the February 8 presidential proclamation, I also wrote a letter to the NPC leadership and to Senator Ping Lacson that I may be allowed to be the representative of NPC in the UniTeam slate, senatorial slate," he said.
"The same tone of the letter that I addressed to our chairman in the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Senator Tito Sotto, is the same letter that I sent to Senator Ping Lacson," Bautista explained.
"Of course he’ll be confused because he’s not part of the NPC, I guess that’s the only thing that he would like to express himself na 'Teka, hindi ko alam gagawin ko rito,' so yun."
"And then of course, yesterday I only found out that they took me out of the slate, so 'yun ang nangyari."
Asked if he was hoping that he could keep a spot in both the Lacson-Sotto and Marcos-Duterte Senate slates, Bautista said, "Well I guess, kasi 15 kami eh, so parang 12 lang naman yung pipiliin, that’s why nagpaalam ako na kung pwede can I represent the party, Nationalist People’s Coalition, sa UniTeam."
"I was expecting some letter or any form of communication but I guess all of us were already busy," the former Quezon City mayor said.
"Until that day came, February 8 [proclamation] rally, I went to the UniTeam proclamation rally."
"But at least I wrote a letter--you know I guess this is the flaw of the political party system of the country, na medyo andaming coalition, 'di mo maintindihan."
"So at least ako I formally submitted a letter, hindi yung biglaan na lang na umalis ako or at least nagulat na lang sila, ako pinopormal ko o inoopisyal ko ang aking transaksiyon pagdating sa Partido," he added.
(At least it was not sudden or surprising. I formalized it.)
Bautista said he is grateful for his initial inclusion in the Lacson-Sotto Senate slate.
"Well I’m just really very thankful that initially I was accommodated in the [15-person] senatorial slate of the Ping-Tito’s tandem, but much later on when I was endorsed by vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte, I so decided and requested the party to allow me to be part of the Uniteam."
Meanwhile, Gatchalian said that he "respects the decision of their leadership."
"I have worked first hand with Sen. Lacson and SP Sotto and I have nothing but utmost respect and admiration for the two gentlemen. I have seen their dedication to serve our people and their pure love for our beloved country," he said.
"For this, I respect the decision of their leadership. I also apologize for any misunderstanding that I may have caused."