Sen. Grace Poe has dropped former Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson from her senatorial ticket to give way to actor Edu Manzano.
This was confirmed on Tuesday by Lacson himself who said it was Poe who told him that he is out of her line-up.
“Senator Poe called me up last Friday and she requested that I be dropped from the senatorial slate to give way for another candidate, Edu Manzano,” he told ABS-CBN News Channel.
Manzano, a former vice mayor of Makati City, was the Arroyo administration’s “anointed” vice presidential candidate in the 2010 elections. He lost in the race won by former Makati City mayor Jejomar Binay.
“As a background, she invited me to meet with her twice to request that I be included in her slate. I agreed with a clear understanding that there will be no obligations imposed on either party,” Lacson said.
According to the former senator, he sees nothing wrong with Poe’s decision, noting that being invited as a guest candidate is a privilege.
Lacson earlier said while he was included in Poe’s ticket as a guest candidate, he would be supporting Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas 2nd, who was his colleague in the Aquino Cabinet.
He added that he is supporting Roxas because, unlike the other candidates, he is not linked to corruption issues, has no pending disqualification case and has no health issues.
Lacson on Monday was named as among those included as a guest senatorial candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
He was earlier announced as among those composing the 12-man senatorial slate of the administration-backed LP.
Poe, meanwhile, explained that Lacson is a “strong and worthy candidate” and that is why they are shifting support to other “deserving” candidates who have less resources.
“Senator Ping is a strong candidate. We were really eyeing him to be part of our slate. But when he filed his certificate of candidacy, we discovered that he was already being endorsed by the administration party and a strong opposition party, like UNA,” she said in Filipino.
Poe added, “There are other candidates who have no party and we would like to give them a chance. In fact, Toots Ople is also one of those we spoke with,” referring to former Labor undersecretary Susan Ople, who is running for senator.
Ople, the only official senatorial candidate of the Nacionalista Party, on Saturday confirmed to The Manila Times that she and Poe were talking about a possible alliance.
The daughter of former senator Blas Ople was also included in the UNA slate and was endorsed by presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Lacson—who was the Aquino administration’s “rehabilitation czar” for Yolanda and earthquake-hit areas in the Visayas before his resignation last February—is eyeing a return to the Senate after a three-year hiatus.
A former high-profile chief of the Philippine National Police before venturing into politics, the 67-year-old former senator initially won a Senate seat in 2001 and was reelected to a second term in 2007.
He was constitutionally barred from running for a third term.
Lacson placed third in the 2004 presidential elections behind eventual winner, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and actor Fernando Poe Jr.
He initially floated another presidential run through radio commercials that were aired in the middle of the year.