MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said he would vote for reelectionist senators for their "work ethic," as well as economist Mar Roxas and Dr. Willie Ong whose expertise are needed in the chamber.
Senators Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Bam Aquino, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito and Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel III are vying for a fresh mandate.
Roxas is making his legislative comeback after losing to President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 presidential race, while Ong is a political neophyte.
"Meron akong soft heart sa reelectionist na kasama namin, whether from the majority or minority bloc kasi nakasama ko na sila and alam ko how they work, ang work ethic nila," Lacson said during a weekly Senate press forum.
"Sila ang laging nariyan, nag-aaral, nagde-defend ng bill so kabisado namin sila," he said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Gringo Honasan have also made a "pact" to back their colleagues who want to serve for another 6 years.
"Ang iba may kaunting reservations pero lahat kami, we already made a pact. SP [Senate President], Sen. Honasan, kami, nagkaisa-isa na kami na suportahan namin ang reelectionist naming kasama," he said.
DUTERTE'S FAVORITE PUNCHING BAG
Duterte's "favorite punching bag" is an "asset" in the Senate, Lacson said referring to Roxas who was a New York finance guy before entering politics.
"He’s a good addition kasi sa acumen niya. Marami tayong bills na nagre-refer na makatulong sa economy, sa development. So he’s an asset to say the least na maging senator come 2019," he said.
Lacson also cleared the former interior chief from corruption allegations linked to the onslaught of Supertyphoon Yolanda in 2013.
"We would just like to correct that very wrong impression na si Sen. Roxas parang abused the funds," Lacson said.
"Huwag naman ibato sa kanya ang Yolanda funds because he never took advantage. There was no way for him to have that opportunity to take advantage," he said.
"Wala naman talaga siyang kinalaman sa pondo ng Yolanda except ang DILG [Department of Interior and Local Government] nag-provide ng cash assistance sa LGU and dumaan sa kaniya," he said.
Dr. Ong is also on Lacson's list.
"Kailangan namin siguro yan, and I find him a very good addition siya sa public service," Lacson said.
The police chief-turned-lawmaker declined to disclose the 10th candidate on his list, but hinted that the person is also from the opposition slate.