Lacson leaves Partido Reporma as party leaders back Robredo's bid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 24) —  Presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson on Thursday resigned as chairperson and member of the Partido Reporma party a few hours before the president and other leaders of the political party shifted allegiance and endorsed the bid of Vice President Leni Robredo.

After less than a year with Partido Reporma, Lacson will now campaign as an independent bet. He said this will work in his favor, dashing rumors that he plans to withdraw from the race.

"Independent-minded ako [I am independent-minded]. I feel more relieved than disappointed," he said in a media briefing.

Commission on Elections Commissioner George Garcia said Lacson's change of affiliation will not affect his presidential bid.

Partido Reporma President Pantaleon Alvarez in a statement said that although Lacson is a qualified candidate, they acknowledge that the electoral terrain has changed.

"Our ground leaders have expressed their wish to participate in that brave calling. And that is why, a hard choice must be made. With a heavy heart, many members of Partido Reporma are constrained to consider a candidate other than their first choice," he said in a statement.

Alvarez said officials and members of the party want to extend help to ensure a Robredo win, especially after seeing her campaign gain significant traction as May 9 approaches.

"We reasonably believe that the only realistic option at this point, with roughly a month and a half left, is to converge with Leni Robredo’s campaign... We respect the choice of our members and officers. They are not Pink, but they are reformists, and they are for Leni Robredo. The fight for good governance and a better tomorrow for our People has never been, and never will be, limited to a single color," the former House speaker said in a statement.

"Independent-minded ako [I am independent-minded]. I feel more relieved than disappointed," he said in a media briefing.

Commission on Elections Commissioner George Garcia said Lacson's change of affiliation will not affect his presidential bid.

Partido Reporma President Pantaleon Alvarez in a statement said that although Lacson is a qualified candidate, they acknowledge that the electoral terrain has changed.

"Our ground leaders have expressed their wish to participate in that brave calling. And that is why, a hard choice must be made. With a heavy heart, many members of Partido Reporma are constrained to consider a candidate other than their first choice," he said in a statement.

"We reasonably believe that the only realistic option at this point, with roughly a month and a half left, is to converge with Leni Robredo’s campaign... We respect the choice of our members and officers. They are not Pink, but they are reformists, and they are for Leni Robredo. The fight for good governance and a better tomorrow for our People has never been, and never will be, limited to a single color," the former House speaker said in a statement.