Lacson insulted with insinuation to withdraw for Leni-Tito tandem during unity talks

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 14) — Presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson detailed on Thursday why a last-ditch effort to field one candidate to represent the opposition failed, saying a meeting with Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Franklin Drilon left him feeling offended.

Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III met with the two opposition leaders for the second time on Oct. 2, the second day of filing of candidacy.

Admitting he did not personally notice it, Lacson said he was informed by Sotto that Drilon had indicated in a hand gesture that the unified opposition wanted to field Robredo and Sotto for the top two national posts. He said the action insinuated that he should withdraw his plan to run in the 2022 presidential polls.

"I was only informed by Senate President after our meeting. Sabi niya, 'Hindi mo ba napansin na 'yung dalawang daliri ni Frank nakaturo sa aming dalawa?' Parang effectively telling me in my face to withdraw and create a new tandem between the Vice President and the Senate President," he said during a media forum.

[Translation: I was only informed by Senate President after our meeting. He asked me, 'Didn't you notice that Frank's fingers were pointed at us?' It seemed to say that I should withdraw because they will create a new tandem with the Vice President and the Senate President.]

Lacson said he would have walked out from the meeting if he personally noticed Drilon's alleged hand motion.

"It's too insulting to say the least, in your face sabihin sa iyo na mag-withdraw [tell you to withdraw]," he added.

During the second meeting with Robredo and Drilon, the senator said he had decided that he will not withdraw his presidential bid.

"Doon ko na-confirm na ang [That's where I confirmed that the] unification effort is only to unify under them, nothing more," he said.

Robredo eventually confirmed her presidential run with Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan as her running mate, after several failed attempts to unite presidential aspirants Lacson, Isko Moreno, and Manny Pacquiao against the Duterte administration’s standard bearer.