Atienza apologizes for asking Lacson to back out of #Halalan2022

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 08 2022 03:57 PM | Updated as of Apr 08 2022 03:58 PM

MANILA — House Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza on Friday apologized to Sen. Panfilo Lacson for publicly asking him to back out of the presidential race. 

Atienza last week made the call when he raised the idea of a team-up between his running-mate Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Lacson's vice-presidential candidate Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III. 

Atienza said he "did not mean to insult" Lacson and was only thinking of thwarting another possible Marcos presidency. 

“Hindi expected 'yung reaction ni Ping. He rejected the idea outright and in fact, considered it an insult. And I apologize publicly. Sabi ko hindi naman insulto 'yun,” Atienza said during a Pandesal Forum. 

(Ping's reaction was unexpected... I said it was not an insult)

“But there are realities,” he added.

Former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has topped pre-election surveys. He kept his lead in the latest poll of Pulse Asia, where 56 percent of respondents said they would vote for him if the elections were held in March, down 4 percent from his score the previous month. 

Lacson placed fifth in the same survey with the backing of 2 percent of likely voters. 

"In all humility, apology accepted," Lacson said on Twitter, in response to Atienza. 

Atienza, who is recovering from a surgery following a foot injury, said his weeks-long absence from the campaign trail has hit his election chances. 

He urged presidential aspirants to band together against Marcos, whose potential victory was dubbed by Atienza as a "national crisis." 

The son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos has shunned several debates and has been hounded by the issue of his family's unpaid P203-billion estate taxes

"That is why everybody should be prepared to react, not on a personal note, but on a very, very patriotic self,” Atienza said.