MANILA - Several members of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) are now more open to back the 2022 candidacy of Partido Reporma standard bearer Sen. Panfilo Lacson after a certain candidate did not join the presidential race, party chairman Sen. Vicente Sotto III said Thursday.
Sotto said NPC leaders are expected to meet next week to discuss a possible coalition with Lacson's Partido Reporma and the National Unity Party (NUP) after several candidates either withdrew or filed for substitution earlier this week.
"Some of my partymates, ironically, without naming names, were disappointed because some of them were supporting certain candidates who (are) no longer running for president," Sotto said in a virtual press conference.
"O, eh 'di, napabuti sa amin [ni Sen. Lacson]," said Sotto, a 2022 vice presidential aspirant in tandem with Lacson.
(That is better for Sen. Lacson and me.)
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was earlier rumored to vie for the presidency, but instead registered for the vice presidential race, under Lakas-CMD.
Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, the ruling PDP-Laban's standard bearer, also withdrew his candidacy for the top post in the country.
Sotto said he "doubts" that NPC members would prefer to endorse the presidential bet backed by the unnamed candidate they were originally rooting for.
"My leading candidate in the endorsement of our party is Sen. Lacson," Sotto said.
"To come up with an official endorsement, statement, we need to have the go signal of majority of our members. Ayoko namang pangunahan na ako lang ang nagsabi (I don't want to make a unilateral decision)," he said.
So far, the NPC has formed an alliance with Partido Reporma and NUP as far as "clean, honest and orderly elections are concerned," the Senate President said.
"There is an alliance... Pati sa mga pag-check ng source code, we have already an alliance," he said.
"But an official endorsement, [that's] coming."
Most of the Philippines' oldest and largest political parties will not be fielding their own standard bearers in next year's presidential elections.
PDP-Laban's Dela Rosa was not substituted, while the party's initial vice presidential bet, Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, withdrew and then filed a certificate of candidacy for president under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS).
Despite claiming leadership of PDP-Laban, Sen. Manny Pacquiao filed his COC under the Probinsya Muna Development Initiative (PROMDI) party.
Vice President Leni Robredo will run for president as an independent candidate even if she is the current chairperson of the Liberal Party.
Former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who was part of the Nacionalista Party for several years, filed his COC for president under Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso is the standard bearer of Aksyon Demokratiko, while labor leader Leody De Guzman is running under the banner of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM).
The political party system in the Philippines should be strengthened, Lacson said, when asked to comment about politicians quickly jumping ships during election season.
"'Yung pagsi-switch, pagtu-turncoat, usong-uso. Parang nasa daily menu na natin," he said.
(Switching and turncoatism are very prevalent. It seems to be on our daily menu.)
"Dapat bigyan natin ng ngipin yung turncoatism kung saan may karampatang bigat o responsibility," he said.
(We should put some teeth against turncoatism in the sense that there would be sanctions or responsibilities when you switch parties.)