MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday declined 1Sambayan's invitation to join a town hall meeting on national security and foreign policy, saying the group earlier "precluded" him from being endorsed as a presidential candidate in the 2022 national elections.
In a March interview, 1Sambayan convenor and former Justice Antonio Carpio said it would be "inconsistent and incongruous" for the coalition to endorse Lacson as president because he authored the Anti-Terrorism Law.
"I have been under the impression that the 1Sambayan Coalition has effectively precluded any possible association with this representation," Lacson said in a letter to the group, dated June 8, 2021.
"My participation will be construed as a lack of propriety on my end in light of your prior pronouncements suggesting that my representation will be a 'stumbling block' on your political endorsements," he said.
Several 1Sambayan members, including Carpio and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, were among those who filed a petition before the Supreme Court to invalidate provisions in the Anti-Terrorism Law, which Lacson defended in the Senate.
The vague and broad provisions of the law justify its outright invalidation, the group said in its 86-page plea, filed before the high court in July 2020.
Some provisions may penalize individuals and organizations designated as terrorists by mere association, violating the right to due process, they said.
In an online press conference, Lacson said no "self-respecting person" would accept an invitation from a bloc which has publicly slammed his body of work.
"Na-preclude ka na tapos iimbitahin ka? Mayroon naman siguro akong respeto sa sarili ko," he told reporters.
(You were precluded and then you will be invited? I still have respect for myself.)
1Sambayan, a coalition seeking to unify opposition parties in the 2022 national election, said it was still open to discussing issues with the senator.
"We still remain open to discuss things with Sen Ping and other well-meaning individuals," said Howard Calleja, one of the coalition's convenors.
"However, those who do not believe in a united opposition are of course free to chart their own course," he said in a statement sent to reporters.
1Sambayan is reportedly considering endorsing the possible presidential bids of Vice President Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, and former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
Other possible candidates that the coalition is willing to endorse are incumbent senators Nancy Binay and Grace Poe.
Video from the Office of Sen. Panfilo Lacson