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Drilon: Nothing wrong with asking bets to withdraw for Marcos-Robredo showdown

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon believes asking other presidential bets to drop out of the race is not wrong, saying that it is part of the political landscape.

"Wala pong pumipilit dahil ang pag-atras po ay desisyon personal ng kandidato wala pong makakapilit kahit kanino man at karapatan po ng kahit sinong humarap sa taong bayan at sabihin 'dapat akong maging pangulo,'" Drilon said in a CNN Philippines interview when asked to confirm the calls from presidential bet and Vice President Leni Robredo's camp for other bets to back out.

"Ngunit yung mga pagsabi na siguro baka pwede na kayong umatras dahilan para magkaroon ng pagkakataon na mag one-on-one si Leni at si Bongbong... sa akin po kasama sa politika 'yan," he added.

The veteran politician recalled the "very intense" negotiations in 1992 between  presidential candidates Fidel Ramos and former Senator Jovito Salonga.

"In 1992, there was a very intense negotiation between President Ramos and Senator Jovi Salonga for Jovi Salonga to withdraw kaya lang hindi natuloy because they did not agree as to the vice president," he narrated.

"So noon pa, and I'm citing political history, which I, myself, participated in —this discussion of one candidate withdrawing and endorsing the other is part of the political landscape," he added.

He noted the unification talks that were initiated by Robredo prior to the filing of the certificates of candidacy.

Asked about presidential candidate and Senator Panfilo Lacson's reaction on the alleged attempts from Robredo's camp, Drilon said he doesn't blame his fellow senator for "feeling slighted" but the calls should be "taken as part of the electoral process."

"I can concede and understand his feelings but objectively this is not something new," he said.

The minority chief further argued that a united ticket in Eleksyon 2022 is an ideal scenario but this, he said, might not happen.

"Sa akin, 'yan ang ideal situation, an ideal end game on election day but being realistic about it, that scenario might not happen," he said.

Last Sunday, Lacson along with other presidential bets-- Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales held a press conference to clarify that they will not withdraw from the race.

This, they said, was prompted by alleged attempts by Robredo's camp to ask them to quit to beat the frontrunner, presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the son of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.

At the same press conference, Moreno called for Robredo to drop her presidential bid.

Lacson and his running mate Sotto have since distanced themselves from Moreno's call. Moreno's own running mate, Dr. Willie Ong, also said that everyone should continue with their candidacies.

Reacting to the press conference, Drilon said none of the presidential bets present during the Easter Sunday's press conference "benefitted" from it as Moreno "hijacked" the event to call for Robredo's withdrawal from the race.—LDF, GMA News