Ping Lacson Accepts Lito Atienza's Apology After the Latter Asked Him to Quit Race

Lacson seemed to be insulted by the suggestion.

In the theater of Philippine politics, apologies are uncommon. However, in this rare instance, not only are we hearing an apology, we're getting reconcilation, too.

Presidential aspirant Sen. Panfilo Lacson has accepted Vice Presidential candidate Lito Atienza's apology after the former Manila City mayor's suggestion for Lacson to withdraw from the race.

A week ago, Atienza made it known that he was seriously considering dropping out of the race. He would do this to allow his running mate, Presidential candidate and Sen. Manny Pacquiao to form a new team with Vice Presidential candidate Vicente “Tito” Sotto III that should be able to defeat frontrunners Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

Lacson seemed offended by the offer. He responded by asking Atienza to go back to his good manners and right conduct lessons. Atienza then retorted that Lacson should "learn some manners."

On Friday, April 8, Atienza walked back on his comments and apologized for the spat. “Hindi expected ‘yung reaction ni Ping. He rejected the idea outright," expressed Atienza at the weekly Pandesal Forum. "He, in fact, considered it an insult and I apologize publicly. Sabi ko, ‘hindi naman insulto ‘yun’. I did not mean to insult Ping,”

Atienza went on to compliment Lacson, saying that he had "always liked" him.

For the former Manila City mayor, the true national crisis we are facing is seeing "the most incompetent, the most dishonest" winning the presidency.

"That is a crisis to me. That’s why everybody should be prepared to react not on a personal note but in a very, very patriotic sense. The idea is not meant to degrade anyone’s competence,” he explained.

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In a tweet, Lacson accepted Atienza's apology.

"The call for 'unity' to defeat one particular candidate is a selfish scheme to unite under the candidate issuing that call. Decency deserves some respect even from arrogance," tweeted Lacson. "We will finish the race because it is the Filipino that we are fighting for and no one else."

Last March, Lacson resigned from the Partido ng Demokratikong Reporma and ran as an independent. The party then endorsed Vice President Leni Robredo. In 2021, Lacson also reached out to Robredo for "unification" talks but it fell through.

Lacson ranked fifth in the latest Pulse Asia pre-election survey. Still, Lacson made it clear that he isn't quitting the race anytime soon.

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Bryle B. Suralta
Assistant Section Editor
Bryle B. Suralta is the assistant section editor of Esquire Philippines.
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