Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday said he will not support calls for any presidential aspirant to withdraw from the race before the May 9 national elections.
“Wala akong sinusuportahan na mag-withdraw, kahit sino (I don’t support any call to withdraw, not anyone),” he told reporters shortly before delivering a speech on the occasion of his grandfather’s 145th birth anniversary here.
Sotto, who is running for vice president, issued the remarks to clarify the “true intention” of the press conference of four presidential bets on Easter Sunday which he also attended.
He denied reports that Senators Panfilo Lacson and Manny Paquiao, former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso called on their fellow presidential candidate, Vice President Leni Robredo to withdraw from the race.
The Senate President said the four candidates called for the press conference to issue a joint statement that has nothing to do with either Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. or Robredo.
“(The joint statement said) that they are not withdrawing, they are calling people to stop speculating, that they will bind together to fight anything that will subvert clean, honest, and orderly election,” Sotto said.
He said the remarks of Domagoso calling on the vice president to back out from the presidential race was made on his own.
“Walang kinalaman sina Gonzales at Ping dun (It has nothing to do with Gonzales and Lacson),” he stressed.
Domagoso called on Robredo to make a “supreme sacrifice” as he urged her to withdraw her candidacy.
Sotto visited Cebu to grace an event organized by the city government’s Cultural and Historical Affairs Office commemorating the 145th birth anniversary of his grandfather and namesake, the late senator Don Vicente “Inting” Sotto.
“One hundred forty-five years ago, a Cebuano patriot, lawyer, revolutionary, playwright, legislator, and publicist was born. Senator Vicente Yap Sotto’s life and feats are unparalleled and being his namesake is both an honor and a big responsibility,” he said in his speech at the Rizal Memorial Library and Museum here.
He added: “Filling in his “big shoe” has never been my goal, but not tarnishing his excellent reputation is. We may have started differently in our lives as public servants, but all throughout, his legacy and aspirations have been my guiding light to continue what he had fought for”.
He said that Don Inting’s prowess as a journalist earned him the title “Father of Cebuano journalism” and his boldness in writing news and commentaries placed him at risk of being labeled as an oppositionist.
“Hence, as a legislator, he was the first to recognize the importance of a free press in a democratic society by enacting Republic Act 53 (the Sotto Law). A law of transcendental importance and has been relevant for so many generations in protecting the Philippine Press Freedom. This landmark piece of legislation allowed journalists to write and report freely without fear of being forced to divulge their sources,” he said.
The Senate President authored Republic Act 11458, which expanded the Sotto Law’s coverage to include broadcast and electronic mass media.
Source: Philippines News Agency