Lacson-Sotto launch postponed in 'sensitivity' to fight vs. Delta variant

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 2) — Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, the first confirmed tandem in the 2022 elections, put off their candidacy’s official launch originally set for this week due to the dreaded Delta variant.

In separate statements on Monday, Lacson and Sotto announced the postponement of their August 4 event, after taking into consideration the country’s fight against the highly transmissible Delta variant which is believed to cause more serious disease as well.

“While we are grappling with an evident surge in the infection rate, we thought we should focus more on attending to our people’s health concerns and priorities than any other non-health related activities,” Lacson said.

“It is a purely sensitivity issue, even considering that the event will be virtually presented,” he and Sotto added.

Metro Manila will be back under the strictest enhanced community quarantine from Aug. 6 to 20 due to yet another surge in infections. The Senate will suspend sessions at least from Aug. 9 to 11 – the first working days with the capital region under ECQ.

Sotto said they are considering holding the event once ECQ is lifted or on Sept. 8 – a month before the filing of certificates of candidacy at the Commission on Elections on Oct. 1 to 8.

READ: No online filing of certificates of candidacy

First confirmed tandem

Both Lacson and Sotto are in their third term as senators. Lacson, former Philippine National Police chief, is taking another shot at the presidency after running in the 2004 national elections as an independent candidate. He recently took oath as chairman of the recently revived Partido Reporma.

Sotto, an actor-turned-politician, is seeking higher office for the first time after nearly two decades as lawmaker. He is chairman of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, one of the major political parties in the country.

In early July, the tandem held consultative meetings in different parts of Luzon. On July 20, Sotto first announced on CNN Philippines that he and Lacson have decided to vie for the top posts in 2022 and that they would make a formal launch on August 4. It is now the first campaign-related activity to be disrupted by the pandemic.