MANILA - Several senators on Friday criticized some members of ruling party PDP-Laban for raising possible candidates for the 2022 presidential elections despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Lacson specifically scored PDP-Laban members who even openly discussed their plan of encouraging President Rodrigo Duterte to run as vice president in 2022. Duterte himself, meanwhile, said his long-time ally, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go wants to become president.
Lacson said the money used to finance the “commissioned survey” should have just been donated to help the needy fight the pandemic.
"The timing is bad and insensitive to say the least," he said.
"Dapat ang focus ngayon ay sa lumalalang sitwasyon ng pandemya," he said.
(The focus now should be on the worsening pandemic.)
In a recent pre-election Pulse Asia survey, the tandem of Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go and President Rodrigo Duterte emerged as the preferred pair for President and Vice President in the 2022 elections, reports said.
Lacson was listed as a possible presidential contender, with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso as his running mate.
Senators Francis Pangilinan and Joel Villanueva also slammed the survey.
"Especially now, with the rising cases of COVID and the slow vaccine rollout, we need to give full attention to managing the pandemic,” said Pangilinan, who was identified in the survey as the possible running-mate of opposition leader Vice President Leni Robredo.
"Unfortunately, nag-start na. Kumbaga sa basketball, papasok na ng arena ang mga player... unfortunately lahat tinitingnan na rin ang arena, 'yung 2022 elections," Villanueva said in a virtual press conference.
(Unfortunately, it has started. Just like in basketball, the players are starting to enter the arena... Unfortunately, the arena everybody is looking at is the 2022 elections.)
"I think all of us should reflect on what is happening. We have a serious problem," he said.
PDP-Laban resolution 'not legitimate'
PDP-Laban president Sen. Manny Pacquiao said the resolution was "not legitimate" and directed his partymates to refrain from discussing the 2022 national elections this early.
Pacquiao is another possible contender for the presidential race in 2022.
— Reports from Sherrie Ann Torres and Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News