Senator Panfilo Lacson is set to launch his campaign on Tuesday, February 8, in Imus, Cavite, counting on his home province to give him a chance at the presidency – a race he is currently losing, based on voter preference polls.
Lacson, 73, his running mate and longtime colleague Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and their senatorial bets at the Imus Grandstand, with their campaign team expecting at least 4,000 supporters to make a crowd.
The team will first attend mass at the Imus Cathedral at 3:30 pm before mounting the 5 pm proclamation rally. (BOOKMARK: LIVE UPDATES: Ping Lacson – Tito Sotto proclamation rally)
The launch will be the largest political event the Lacson-Sotto tandem will headline after the pandemic forced the country into forbidding mass gatherings, including the crowded sorties that have characterized previous elections. It is Lacson’s second attempt at the presidency, after his defeat in 2004. It is Sotto’s first official try for the vice presidency, after he was initially considered as Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s running mate in the 1998 polls.
The tandem’s decision to hold their campaign launch Imus, Cavite, is both strategic and symbolic.
Cavite is the second most vote-rich province in the Philippines with over 2.15 million registered voters in the last elections. In 2016, Lacson got the most votes – 829,000 – from the province out of all senatorial candidates, while Sotto got the second highest number of votes, gaining the approval of over 796,000.
Imus is the hometown of Lacson. He was born and raised here where the Philippines had two major victories during its revolution against Spain.
Lacson and Sotto have paid Cavite at least two visits since filing their certificates of candidacy in October 2021: once in Imus, with Lacson visiting his high school, and another time in December, when the tandem spoke in the vote-rich General Trias.
The tandem and their supporters further assert their claim to the province with numerous billboards and tarpaulins bearing their names and faces. Data from Nielsen showed that TV, radio, print, and outdoor billboard ads Lacson ran from January to December 2021 were worth P915.30 million before huge discounts mandated by law, making him the top spender in ads.
Will Cavite deliver?
The Lacson campaign considers Cavite his bailiwick, but even the province’s top official doubts this.
Citing an internal survey in December 2021, Governor Jonvic Remulla said majority of Caviteños would back another presidential bet – the current poll leader, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
In 2016, when Marcos Jr. ran for vice president, he topped the race in Cavite with over 556,000 votes. Leni Robredo, who defeated Marcos in the race, trailed him with over 404,000 votes in the province. Since then, Lacson spent much of his time working at the Senate, while Marcos Jr. has steadily grown his devoted base through social media, with delectable content often laced with lies and disinformation.
When his poor performance in surveys is raised, Lacson has a ready answer: He believes he is the most competent among them, and he believes Filipinos will see it for themselves.
He has 90 days. – Rappler.com
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