MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson resigned from Partido Reporma on Thursday, March 24, as he said the party is set to endorse another presidential candidate in the May 9 elections.
“Today, I officially announce my resignation as chairman and member of Partido ng Demokratikong Reporma, which effectively makes me an independent candidate for the presidency in the upcoming May 2022 elections,” Lacson said in a press briefing in General Santos City on Thursday.
Partido Reporma was the only party that Lacson joined in his decades in government.
Watch the livestream of Lacson’s press conference below.
Lacson resigned from Reporma just 8 months after he quickly ascended to its chairmanship, following its swift revival under former Duterte ally, Pantaleon Alvarez.
Without Reporma, Lacson has no national party left endorsing him, as he has also failed to get the endorsement of the party of his running mate, Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) chairman Senator Vicente Sotto III.
Lacson has been frank about his chances of winning in 2022, flatly polling at single-digit percentages in presidential polls. While he doubted surveys, he also explained that the electorate “may not be ready” for his candidacy.
Lacson and Reporma
Former defense secretary Renato de Villa formed Partido Reporma in 1998 to back his presidential run with his running mate, then Pangasinan governor Oscar Orbos. Both lost to Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, respectively.
Partido Reporma last won a seat in the House of Representatives in 2004, clinching just a single district representation. It faded from view after that.
Lacson said he was also urged by fellow graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), who, he said, dreamed of seeing a PMA graduate president in their lifetime. Then he came in contact with Alvarez.
Alvarez and Lacson’s relationship grew when the former was House speaker. When Alvarez was ousted from the post, Lacson immediately called for a lunch with him, further deepening their ties.
Alvarez used to be one of Duterte’s most loyal lieutenants until he was unseated as Speaker at the House.
With Alvarez becoming a critic of his former master Duterte, his nurtured Reporma is expected to be a threat against pro-administration forces in Mindanao.