Davao del Norte Representative and Partido Reporma president Pantaleon Alvarez said Thursday that the party is now endorsing the presidential candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo in the May 9 elections.
Alvarez made the announcement shortly after Senator Panfilo Lacson, who is also running for president, resigned as member and chairman of Partido Reporma, stating that the party had decided to support another presidential candidate.
"Our ground leaders have expressed their wish to participate in that brave calling. And that is why, a hard choice must be made. With a heavy heart, many members of Partido Reporma are constrained to consider a candidate other than their first choice," Alvarez said in a statement.
"We reasonably believe that the only realistic option at this point, with roughly a month and a half left [before the elections], is to converge with Leni Robredo’s campaign," he added.
Although Alvarez described Lacson as "the best" and "the most qualified to be president," he said the reality on the ground made them reconsider their options.
"Time and context framed the narrative of 2022 in a way that gave traction, rightly or wrongly, to other candidacies instead. This is a difficult fact which takes courage to admit," he said.
In a press briefing in General Santos City, Lacson said he will now pursue his presidential bid as an independent candidate.
Meanwhile, Partido Reporma senatorial candidate Monsour del Rosario toed the party line and expressed his support for Robredo's candidacy.
“Today, I pledge my support to our Honorable Vice President Leni Robredo in her bid to become the next President of the Philippines. I believe that her mission to reform and uplift the country aligns with my own plight to bring about real positive change in the lives of the ordinary Filipino, especially those who have been neglected by past administrations,” Del Rosario said in a statement.
Del Rosario said he respects the decision of Lacson to leave Partido Reporma, acknowledging the latter’s “sincere heart and undying will” to serve the country.
“I believe he can still do many great things for our country and I wish him all the best. As for my candidacy,” he added.
Another Partido Reporma Senate bet, Dr. Minguita Padilla, said she will discuss her plans first with Lacson, as the lawmaker was the one who invited her to join the party.
She noted that her major advocacies are in line with Lacson’s.
“He is an old friend. I will continue to support him but we will have to talk soon,” Padilla said.
Guillermo Eleazar, the former Philippine National Police chief who filed his certificate of candidacy for senator as a substitute candidate of the Partido Reporma, has yet to comment on the developments. —with a report from Hana Bordey/KBK/VBL, GMA News