Lacson-Sotto tandem has pre-empted Robredo, Trillanes and company

The announcement was scheduled for August 4, or two weeks from now. But Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and his partner, Senate President Tito Sotto III, couldn’t contain their excitement and revealed two days ago that their plan to seek the two highest positions in the country is a go. That it came in the form of a text message to media organizations didn’t diminish the impact of their decision. All of a sudden, it’s all hell has broken loose among the forces seeking to defeat the Duterte administration’s candidate.

The entry of the PISOT (this is one of the ACRONYMS coined by netizens) tandem is a monkey-wrench into the playbook of 1Sambayan and Liberal Party that premised its battle on a single-candidate only to challenge the administration. This early, administration probables have posted a commanding lead: Mayor Sara Duterte has consistently led the last few surveys with 25 to 28% while former Senator Bongbong Marcos was at a tie for second place with Senator Grace Poe at 13%. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao are also in the lead pack.

Lacson got only 4% in the latest Pulse Asia survey in a statistical tie with Vice President Leni Robredo. If both run, then they will have to fight for the bread crumbs while the administration delights in the largest slice of the pie. Hence, it is not hard to understand the call for a single candidate only for the opposition.

The obvious question that must be asked: Where is Lacson going to get the billions of pesos needed to fuel the campaign? Do they have secret backers from the business community that have assured them of the resources they will need? A presidential campaign, one that would challenge the party in power, is hard and costly. President Duterte attracted support from San Miguel’s Ramon Ang in 2016, according to the grapevine, which is why he managed to build a solid campaign organization nationwide.

Or could it be funding from abroad? At this time, with the political picture showing an almost certain victory for the administration, the usual political bets from big business are likely to go dry. The survey numbers of Lacson aren’t encouraging at all, and it is much too risky for Filipino businessmen to throw support behind him.

Right now, the only possible domestic backer would be the group of Manny Pangilinan that continues to covet the oil and gas underneath the West Philippine Sea. But 1Sambayan already holds the purse from this group. Will Lacson make an about-face and accept support from a group that includes leftists and petitioners against the Anti-Terror Law that he authored?

One thing is certain for me now: Robredo will not run. The future has turned pitch dark for her with this PISOT tandem coming into the playing arena. What about Trillanes? Well, knowing him to be a fool, he might just well run for the heck of it.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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