Lacson-Poe 2016 tandem pushed
MANILA, Philippines – Retired military and police officers are pushing former Senator Panfilo Lacson and neophyte senator Grace Poe to work together and seek higher office in 2016.
In a paid newspaper ad published on the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Wednesday, March 25, the retired officers said, "We urge Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson and Sen. Grace Poe to forge a political alliance and run in tandem for higher office in 2016."
At least 4 3-star generals signed the newspaper ad: former Philippine National Police No. 3 Emelito Sarmiento, former Army chief Raul Urgello, former chief peace negotiator with Moro rebels Rodolfo Garcia, and former Philippine Military Academy superintendent and Mindanao commander Edilberto Adan.
In their "Manifesto for Democratic Discernment, Vigilance and Transformation," the retired generals said they picked the two politicians because they believe in their qualities as leaders who can solve the "urgent problems" of the country.
They cited problems in the magnitude of the Mamasapano tragedy, Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the pork barrel scam, Metro Manila traffic, and the Manila port congestion.
"Looking at our present crop of nation builders. We perceive that the strong-willed, disciplined, and decisive service reputation of Senator Panfilo Lacson, and the untarnished and compassionate brand of leadership of Senator Grace Poe, would be the best combination to serve the needs and the greater interest of the Filipino people," the retired officers said.
They assured the two of their support in the elections and "the political transformation of our government and society."
Lacson's name was floated as a potential 2016 presidential candidate last year following his appointment as Typhoon Yolanda rehabilitation czar. However, he only registered 1% public support in the latest Pulse Asia survey on voters' preference on possible presidential contenders.
Poe pulled a surprise when she suddenly surged in the presidential polls in November to become second only to survey frontrunner Vice President Jejomar Binay, a spot she maintained in the latest polls in March.
Sought for reaction, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago scoffed at the ad as a publicity stunt of a team working for either Lacson or Poe to launch their campaigns.
"It's too expensive just to express a casual opinion," said Santiago, who had announced on previous occasions her possible presidential bid in 2016.
She added: "These are just original grumblings of the clash of tectonic plates that will occur in 2016. This is just the start of the campaign. These are all, as a veteran candidate, I can dismiss it offhand as part of the PR work of a team working for either camp."
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who announced his vice presidential bid last week, was all praises for both Lacson and Poe.
"They have every right to do that. Senator Lacson is very qualified to be a presidential candidate. That's a welcome move," he said.
Trillanes called Poe "a very formidable opponent."
"She is really very much qualified to run for any position. I believe she has the sympathy of the people now," Trillanes said, referring to Poe's handling of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano tragedy.
Trillanes ranked 5th among possible vice presidential candidates in the March 1 to 7 Pulse Asia survey with 6 points, while Poe was the first choice with 29. – with reports from Carmela Fonbuena and Ayee Macaraig/Rappler.com