Would a Ping Lacson – Tito Sotto tandem for 2022 win if Inday Sara Duterte does not run for president?

It was then Col. Gringo Honasan who first shot to fame post-Marcos in 1986 because Lacson found himself on the wrong side of the political divide in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during the coup d’etat against then President Ferdinand “Apo Lakay” Marcos. Lacson joined the Philippine Constabulary (PC) after graduation from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). He was assigned to the Metropolitan Command, Metrocom for short. Metrocom was a buzzword during those days after the declaration of martial law. It was formed during the riots of the First Quarter Storm because the police were largely ineffective in containing the students. Fidel Ramos was the head of the Philippine Constabulary. Col. Rolando Abadilla was chief of the Metrocom Intelligence & Security Group (MISG). Lacson was an operative of the MISG which functioned both as an intelligence unit and one whose personnel were entrusted with sensitive missions like arresting an inebriated Mayor of San Juan who pissed on an erring cop in a fit of anger.

Lacson made his bones in the MISG along with Bobby Ortega, the illegitimate eldest son of Apo Lakay with Carmen Ortega, Bobby Calinisan and future coup plotter Rodolfo Aguinaldo, who would be promoted to head his own Constabulary Security Unit in Region 2 fighting the New People’s Army (NPA). Lacson wasn’t mustered out of the service after the 1986 EDSA Revolution because his Matatag 71 class at the PMA ruled over the AFP. Lacson became Laguna PC Provincial Commander and later, Regional Commander of PRO-7 based in Cebu. Lacson’s rescue of Robina Gokongwei from her kidnappers earned him his spurs. It wasn’t until 1992 that he began his rise to the top as the operations chief of Task Force Habagat under Erap’s PACC. We all know what happened after that.

Lacson is not your typical PMA graduate. For one, he doesn’t dress like a soldier. He looks more like he stepped out of a page of GQ Magazine, always well-dressed and well-groomed. Subtle elegance is his look and never a hair out of place. His first Presidential run in 2004 was perceived as a fluke to split the vote for actor Fernando Poe Jr (FPJ). He only obtained 3.5 million votes which was equivalent to 10% of the total votes cast. This was against a then-President who continues to be the most unpopular up to the present. It thus begs the question, how can Lacson muster a more credible showing in this election cycle against an incumbent who continues to be popular as his term ends?

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Manila Times columnist Yen Makabenta in his piece “Lacson candidacy could shake, rattle and roll the 2022 presidential race” today writes, “Senators Lacson and [Senate President Tito] Sotto could quickly become serious and viable candidates for the two highest offices of the republic if they do two things when they announce their candidacy in the 2022 elections”…

First, they should run on a platform of conviction politics – of their fundamental values as politicians, and what they believe will best serve the nation and its purposes.

Second, they should go against the grain of the entrenched political culture of dynastic politics, pork barreling, money politics, parasitism on the public payroll, cronyism and patronage.

However, Lacson will surely be dogged by black propaganda because of controversies he has been involved in throughout his career in the service and politics. There is the murder of his close aide John Campos and the revelations of Rosebud Ong against him. The Kuratong Baleleng rubout at Commonwealth Avenue. The Dacer-Corbito murder case where he turned fugitive rather than subject himself to arrest and trial. His rift with Col. Reynaldo Berroya. The accusation that his son, Pampi, is engaged in the technical smuggling of cement made by then Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon. It doesn’t help that, this early in the game, Lacson has accused the administration of putting up troll farms on social media to use against its rivals in the election.

Lacson is an independent while Sotto is the Vice-Chairman of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). There is the question of which political party will serve as their official vehicle and that of their Senate slate and ground machinery. At this point, it’s looking to be a three-way race for the Presidency but nothing is cast in stone until the certificate of candidacy has been filed. Would you vote for Lacson-Sotto if Inday Sara Duterte does not run?

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