Why did Lacson-Sotto tandem postpone formal launch?

After the news broke out that Vice President Leni Robredo met with Senators Ping Lacson and Richard Gordon last week, I began to turn this in my mind and look for possible scenarios that might unfold as a consequence. For one thing, it’s rather late in the game for Ms. Robredo to reach out to other possible presidential candidates and try to find “common ground”. And why is Ms. Robredo the one making the moves? Why not 1Sambayan and its convenors?

As former CNN anchor Frank Sesno wrote in his book, “Ask More: The Power of Questions to Unlock Doors, Uncover Solutions and Spark Change,” we need to constantly look behind the news by simply asking simple questions. “Smart people make smarter people,” Sesno said. This is the skill that is painfully lacking in the mainstream media. That’s the reason there’s little substance in the news. So let me answer my own questions and offer educated guesses.

First, I look at these meetings with suspicion. It came just before 11 U.S. Democratic Senators wrote the U.S. State Department to “stand with the Filipino people against a pattern of abuses” by the Duterte administration. Something is cooking here. With survey after survey putting Ms. Robredo in the lower rungs among presidential probables, the logical thing for her to do is withdraw from consideration and allow 1Sambayan to become more aggressive in its search for a viable candidate.

But Ms. Robredo appears to be holding on to something. As Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said on Tuesday, “there is no basis for the assessment that VP Robredo is no longer considering her candidacy for a higher post.” The Liberal Party is keeping the stove flame at low just enough to put Ms. Robredo’s presidential aspirations in slow boil.

Meanwhile, I received information from Iloilo City that Robredo political ads are being aired with regularity in Iloilo radio stations. I can only presume that the same thing is happening in other parts of the country. It’s not as if Ms. Robredo lacks for media mileage. Maybe her PR handlers are hoping that a massive radio offensive will bring her to the level of the masses and turn her numbers around.

Two weeks ago, Lacson and Sotto surprised everybody by announcing that their candidacy is a go. Call it an informal announcement but it served its purpose. The Filipino people have been served notice that we now have a tandem ready to be scrutinized as a possible president and vice president of the Republic. When that happened, I wondered: why couldn’t the Pi-Sot tandem wait for the original schedule of August 4 to formally make their plans public? The duo had started going around on their “Tour of Luzon” to consult with local leaders and get a feel of how they would fare. That consultation process was shortened with the surprise announcement.

And so here we are: just two days before the originally scheduled formal launch, Sotto announced it was being postponed to September 8 out of deference to the impending enhanced community quarantine for the national capital region and key cities because of the resurgence of the Covid 19.

Wait a minute.

The ECQ is set to start on August 6 until the 20th. The schedule for the formal launch is August 4 (that’s today). What is the relevance of the ECQ to the formal launch being postpoined? Out of sensitivity? That’s hypocrisy! The filing of certifcates of candidacy will be on October 1 to 9 this year. If they wait until September 8, that would leave them less than a month before the deadline.

This is looking more like a political flying trapeze act. The explanation given by Sotto fails to convince me about the true reason. Something is cooking, and the Filipino citizenry must raise their vigilance to prevent external forces from trying to influence the outcome of the elections.

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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