PROMDI vice presidential aspirant Lito Atienza rejected Monday Senator Panfilo Lacson’s “counter-offer” made last week to have Senate President Vicente Sotto III as Team Pacquiao and Lacson-Sotto tandem’s “common candidate.”
Lacson, in a news conference last Saturday, issued an open invitation to Pacquiao to attend the Lacson-Sotto tandem’s event in Quezon Memorial Circle, so they could both raise the hand of Sotto as their common candidate.
Atienza, who currently sits as House Deputy Speaker, said Lacson’s offer was “totally out of context.”
“That’s not the idea. That’s totally out of context. Kasi the idea is not just to withdraw but to disengage from Sotto from his earlier commitment, thereby, shifting structures. Magkakaroon ng bagong tandem, 'yung tandem will be Pacquiao-Sotto,” Atienza stressed.
“The affair between me and Ping is done. Kung hindi siya magi-step back, eh di walang vacancy,” he added.
Atienza maintained Lacson should withdraw from the presidential race in favor of Pacquiao and he will bow out of the vice presidential race in favor of Sotto.
“We would like to strengthen the opposition. Thereby providing an alternative to our electorate,” he said.
As he added: “Let’s stop at that. Hindi siya (Lacson) magba-backout, okay… With that idea of Ping, there’ll be no movement. You’ll be stuck. It will strengthen Bongbong Marcos… Thank you, but no, thank you. Thanks but no, thanks”
A status quo scenario Atienza believes, will only “strengthen Marcos.”
The same scenario will happen if Pacquiao withdraws and nobody moves to change a new structure of partnership, the congressman said.
In defense of Pacquiao, Atienza said that various surveys coming out are “mere propaganda,” adding that their internal survey on the other hand, show Pacquiao trailing behind Marcos.
“Surveys propaganda lang yan eh. Accept it. The earlier we accept it, we will be able to reform it. Surveys are now exploited by the wealthy candidates, paying a lot of money to their own surveys, disjointed and distorted showing themselves in the lead,” he said.
Atienza meantime clarified that he is not forcing Lacson to withdraw but is only suggesting such move to hopefully unify the forces against Marcos.
But with such decision, Atienza said he will just continue his vice presidential bid, maximizing the last stretch of the campaign period either through virtual and face-to-face campaigning.
“Definitely not, not withdrawal from me too. And, as Manny (Pacquiao) puts it, I’ll proceed with the campaign. And let’s campaign with our limitations, fine. Hindi ka makaikot sa bansa pero naiintindihan ng taumbayan yan. If they like you, they’ll vote you. If God wills it, we will win,” Atienza said.
For Atienza, having Sotto as Lacson and Sotto’s common candidate will not also work against survey vice presidential frontrunner Sara Duterte.
Atienza meantime told the public to be very vigilant come election day, given the scenario that major parts of the country will experience power interruption as Filipinos vote, and count their votes.
“One brownout, one brownout would do it. Change the results. And I don’t know if people would take it… If it (brownout) happens, it means they (government) allows it,” he said.
The vote of overseas Filipino voters who Atienza called as “intelligent voters” must also be protected, the VP bet said.
Such possible scenario should be immediately addressed by the government to prevent it from happening.
“They would probably monkey around with the OFW votes,” he claimed.