MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said he would either run for president in the 2022 national elections or retire from politics even if he is still eligible to run for re-election as senator.
Lacson, who has been a lawmaker for nearly 2 decades, said that he has already "done his part" when it comes to legislative work. He ran for president in 2004 but lost to Gloria Arroyo.
"It's between gunning for the presidency or retirement," he told reporters in an online press conference when asked about his political plans.
"As I matured in public service, in politics, hindi lang puwedeng passion and emotion. Kailangan talaga pag-aralan mong mabuti 'yung susuungin mo before you make a decision," he said.
(As I matured in public service, in politics, I cannot just rely on passion and emotion. I really have to study my hurdles before I make a decision.)
When asked why he no longer wants to run for another term in the Senate, Lacson said: "Napakaraming (There are a lot of) frustrations ... I have a lot of personal reasons."
"Collegial e. Marami kang gustong gawin na hindi mo magawa kasi isang boto ka lang," he said.
(It's a collegial body. You want to do a lot of things, but you can't because you're just one vote.)
The former police chief-turned-lawmaker said he is in the process of "studying" if he would run for president next year, with Senate President Vicente Sotto III as his likely running mate.
"Hindi ka naman puwedeng sugod nang sugod," he said.
(You cannot just charge unwittingly.)
"The country has serious issues. These cannot be solved by TikTok, photo ops and lip service. Kung kulang yung kakayanan mo, bakit ka pa susubok (If you lack the skill, why bother running)?" he said.
OFFERS TO RUN FOR VICE PRESIDENT
At least 3 camps have indirectly tapped him to run as vice president, Lacson said, noting that he declined all offers.
"Parang hindi na tugma sa political career ko," said the former national police chief.
(I don't think it's aligned with my political career.)
"Dahil sa experience ko rin na hepe ng PNP, mas magiging effective ako kung ako mismo nag e-execute ng mga batas," he said.
(Because of my experience as PNP chief, I am more effective if I would be the one implementing the law.)
Lacson said he would instead back Senate President Vicente Sotto III who is gunning for vice president.
"Si Senate President Sotto, nag-Vice Mayor siya. For the longest time, siya 'yung presiding officer. Mas magagamit niya 'yung expertise niya sa consensus building. Mas magaling siya doon," he said.
(Senate President Sotto worked as Vice Mayor. For the longest time, he was the presiding officer. He can use his expertise in consensus building. He is better at that.)
For over a decade, Lacson and Sotto have been part of the Senate's so-called "Macho bloc," along with former Sen. Gringo Honasan.
"Cast in stone 'yun... In case na hindi ako tumuloy, kinakampaniya ko naman siya (Sotto) para magkaroon siya ng ka-tandem," Lacson said.
(In case I don't run for office next year, I am campaigning for him so that he can be part of another tandem.)
"Unqualified 'yung support ko sa kaniya kasi alam ko ang direksyon niya, alam ko ang advocacy niya," he said, noting that Sotto would push for an anti-illegal drug platform.
(My support for him is unqualified because I know his direction, I know his advocacy.)
Lacson said he and Sotto have been consulting former Cabinet members to see if they could come up with solutions to solve several national issues including the West Philippine Sea dispute with China and the country's mounting debt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"May mga kinakausap kaming former Cabinet officials para i-guide kami, i-crack ang ulo namin kung paano ireresolba," he said.
(We are talking to former Cabinet officials so that they can guide us, crack our heads on how to resolve these.)
"We're still in the process of consultations. Hindi pa naa-affirm kung kami ba sasabak (We have yet to affirm if we will run)," he said.
Lacson did not give a date on when he would make his decision on whether or not he would vie for the presidency.
The senator said Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who has also been vocal about running for president next year, has been setting up a meeting with him to discuss the boxing champ's plans for the 2022 national elections.
"Nandiyan 'yan, naka-bitin pa (It's there, it's still hanging)," Lacson said.
"Usapang politika 'yun (We're going to talk about politics)... but its an open agenda," he said.
Aside from Pacquiao's camp, several smaller political parties are also reaching out to form a possible coalition, Lacson said.