Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Thursday said he ditched the “unity efforts” of Vice President Leni Robredo because he was “insulted” as he felt he was being told to withdraw his bid for the presidency.
Lacson said he felt slighted during a second meeting with Robredo and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
He said he did not notice it himself but his running mate, Senate president Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, later informed him of a supposed hand gesture by Drilon signaling the formation of a Robredo-Sotto tandem.
“It’s like effectively, telling me in my face to withdraw and create a new tandem between the Vice President and the Senate President,” Lacson told reporters.
“When I was told that, I felt insulted. Had I noticed that when it happened, I could have stood up and left that meeting,” he said.
“For me, it’s too insulting to say in your face that you should withdraw. No one can decide that except myself. No other person because it is my decision and it is not easy to process,” he added.
Robredo has said she was willing to give way if the opposition can field a unified candidate against the administration’s candidate for president.
Lacson clarified that he has no intention of withdrawing his candidacy saying he had arrived at a “point of no return.”
He added he realized later that the “unity talks” was just a “scheme” to organize the opposition under Drilon and Robredo.
Sought for comment, Drilon said he could not recall making the hand gesture.
“The meeting was held as part of the effort of VP Leni to unify the opposition. I do not recall those hand gestures attributed to me, much less the interpretation accorded to it,” Drilon said in a message to reporters.