Lacson, Sotto bank on ancestry, achievements to grip vote-rich Cebu ahead of 2022 elections

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2021 03:53 AM

A supporter holds a campaign flag  Handout
A supporter holds a campaign flag in support of the candidacies of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III during a sortie in Naga, Cebu on December 10, 2021. Handout

CEBU CITY - Partido Reporma standard bearer Panfilo Lacson and his runningmate Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Friday returned to Cebu, a vote-rich province where they have long-standing blood ties and alliances.

Lacson saved a 9-year-old member of the prominent Gaisano clan in the 90s, when he served as chief of the Philippine Constabulary in Cebu.

"I was offered reward money by the Gaisano clan. I refused. I said, 'We were only doing our duty,'" he told reporters here.

"Since then, maganda na 'yung aming naging (we've always had good) relations," he said.

Lacson noted that he instituted reforms in the police force during his stint in Cebu - including the patrolling in tandem scheme - and was later on named as an adopted son of the province.

"I’ll keep on reminding our kababayans here in Cebu that I am one of their own," the Reporma standard bearer said.

Vice presidential hopeful Sotto, on the other hand, banked on his Cebuano roots, noting that the province's largest public-run hospital was named after his grandfather and namesake, Vicente Sotto.

The late Vicente Y. Sotto was a Cebuano lawmaker was the main author of the Press Freedom Law, which protects journalists from being forced to name their sources.

"My grandfather was born and raised here. His mother, my great grandmother was raised here. We’re really red and blue, black and blue Cebuano," the Senate President said.

Lacson and Sotto both described Cebu as a "very important" and "very critical" source of votes as the provinces boasts of having about 3 million registered voters.

In an SWS survey conducted in October, Lacson ranked 5th among presidential aspirants with 5 percent of respondents backing his presidential bid.

Sotto was the front runner among vice presidential hopefuls in the said survey with 44 percent.

While the tandem had dismissed "openly seeking" endorsements from local politicians, the pair earned the support and praise of Cebuano business icon Winston Garcia, brother of Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia.

"We will help you. You are our sentimental favorite," Garcia told the Lacson-Sotto slate during a meeting here.

"You are the most decent candidates. I hope the Filipinos will see through it," he said.

Sotto thanked Garcia for his backing, but noted that " the best endorsement comes from the people of Cebu."

"Endorsements are important, but we need votes," he said.

The Senate President said their slate's "biggest challenge in this campaign is to inform the people of our narrative."

The pair has been pushing for a zero-based budget system that would allow villages to identify which projects they hope the national and local government would fund.

"Kung hindi namin makuha ang endorsement, we have to work harder and go down to the grassroots," Lacson said.

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