Lacson to head Reporma, meets with Liberal Party

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 28) — Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, the first confirmed presidential candidate in the 2022 elections, will run under the recently revived political party Partido Reporma.

At the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday, Lacson said he will serve as chairman of Reporma, the party founded by former Defense Secretary Renato de Villa. He said he was offered the post.

And gusto ko rin kasi ugmang-ugma sa gusto kong mangyari kasi Partido Reporma. And there are so many volunteers, unexpected from the business sector, from -– lahat, nakaka-encourage,” Lacson said.

[Translation: And I really wanted to join because Partido Reporma fits perfectly with what I want to happen. And there are so many volunteers, unexpected from the business sector, from everyone. It’s encouraging.]

Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, incumbent chairman of Reporma, said he will be party president once Lacson takes over his post on Thursday.

“He has joined Reporma and he will be taking his oath as one of the officers (chairman) of the Party,” Alvarez told CNN Philippines in a text message.

Lacson said after Alvarez’s ouster as House Speaker in 2018, the congressman asked him to think about his plans for 2022, but he had no plans of running then.

So, nag-ikot siya… He was going around the country, parang ‘yung movement niya is we need a leader in 2022,” Lacson said. "Noong nabuo na niya ‘yun at nakaikot na, saka niya sinabi sa amin na we need a leader in 2022. 'Baka pwedeng maghanda ka,' sabi sa aking ganoon.”

[Translation: So, he went around. He was going around the country, in a movement that seems looking for a leader in 2022. When he finished that, he told us we need a leader in 2022. "Maybe you should prepare," he told me.]

Alvarez resigned as secretary general of the ruling PDP-Laban party in November 2020 and revived Reporma more than a decade after the party went dormant. Reporma last supported the presidential bid of the late Senator Raul Roco in 2004.

Lacson ran in the same presidential election as an independent candidate and did the same in 2016 senatorial polls.

Iba ‘yung feeling ko ngayon kasi, of course, nandyan si Senate President. Noon, ni wala akong vice president noon (It’s a different feeling now because of course the Senate President is there. Before, I didn't even have a vice president),” Lacson said, referring to his running mate, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

Sotto is chairman of the Nationalist People's Coalition, which is forming an alliance with Reporma, Roco's Aksyon Demokratiko, and former Vice President Jejomar Binay's United Nationalist Alliance.

The Lacson-Sotto tandem also met with Vice President Leni Robredo and former Senator Bam Aquino of the opposition Liberal Party last week.

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, LP president, said it was part of the party’s efforts to explore alliances with other groups and personalities for next year’s polls.

“As VP Leni said several weeks ago, the unity of all those who share a common belief in providing genuine solutions to the country's problems is key come 2022 — if we are to put the country on the right track towards succeeding in reaching the twin goals of defeating Covid and achieving economic recovery,” Pangilinan told CNN Philippines in a text message.

Both Lacson and Pangilinan did not disclose what was discussed in the meeting.

“Basta nag-usap na kami (All I can say is we already talked),” Lacson said.

In June, Pangilinan said LP was also reaching out to Senators Nancy Binay and Joel Villanueva, and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno in the hope of fielding one solid slate against the administration in 2022.