By Bea Jane Serna

PHOTO: Ping Lacson

As Partido Reporma president and Davao del Norte Representative  Pantaleon Alvarez recently withdrew the party’s support for his presidential bid last Thursday, topspot candidate Panfilo Lacson claimed that it was not merely pre-election surveys that pushed Alvarez, but rather funds for the party's local candidates that he could not provide.

Lacson asserted that Alvarez' chief-of-staff asked for ₱800 million-worth of additional funds for the local candidates' needs.

"He (Alvarez) also cited pre-election surveys as his primary reason for switching his support which of course I don’t believe," the senator stated in a text message as he mentioned that like himself, Isko Domagoso, and Manny Pacquiao, the party's newly chosen candidate is "also lagging far behind the survey leader."

Although it was Alvarez' chief-of-staff who requested for additional funding, Lacson asserted that he is sure that the Davao del Norte representative is also aware.

Claiming that he had sensed the withdrawal of his party's support for him prior to the issue, Lacson announced on Thursday that he had resigned from Partido Reporma, and shall continue his presidential bid as an independent candidate instead.

Thriving on initiative and volunteerism, Robredo 'does not have ₱800 million'

Just shortly after, Alvarez, as the party president, then declared that they are now backing Vice President Leni Robredo for the chief executive spot.

Upon being asked if Robredo's camp was also informed of the alleged request from Alvarez, lawyer Barry Gutierrez, said "[a]bsolutely not."

In an interview, Gutierrez, who also serves as Robredo's spokesperson, told that: “We are a campaign thriving on initiative and volunteerism, and we certainly do not have 800 million pesos to give away to anyone.”

Edited by: Phylline Calubayan