While stressing it was a parochial matter, Partido Reporma chairman and standard-bearer Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Monday Nov. 15 defended the right of his supporters in the city of Manila to wear face masks promoting his presidential candidacy.
`He also lauded the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for looking into the incident where members of the Manila Police District reportedly harassed tricycle drivers sporting face masks backing the tandem of Lacson and his running mate Vicente Sotto III.
In an interview on ANC’s “Hot Copy,” Lacson said he was surprised by the reaction of fellow presidential bet and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on the issue.
According to Lacson, Domagoso said in an interview in Laguna that he was not “tsismoso” (gossip) when the mayor was queried about MPD cops asking tricycle drivers to take off or turn around face masks given by Lacson and Sotto recently.
“The least that I would want from him (Domagoso) is to say that we will look into this, and if this is wrong at kung totoo nga ay dapat papanagutin ang mga gumagawa nito (if it’s true, then make those who did it responsible). That’s the least that I expected from a gentleman like Isko,” the veteran senator said.
Lacson said he had talked to Domagoso recently and that the Manila mayor seemed “nice and gentlemanly” but was surprised by his reaction to the face mask issue.
“Natawa na lang ako bakit ganun ang reaction ni Mayor Isko (I just laughed at Mayor Isko’s reaction) ” the former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief said.
Lacson said he took advantage of the presence of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar to bring the issue up during his interpellation in the Senate on the 2022 budget of the DILG and PNP.
“Although it is a parochial issue and I didn’t want to bring it up, it is relevant to the mission and vision of the PNP (to ensure good conduct by police officers), and they were kind enough to say that they would investigate the matter,” the Partido Reporma chairman said.
During the Senate’s review of the proposed 2022 budget of the DILG, Lacson admitted he was puzzled over members of Manila police forcing tricycle drivers to remove Lacson-Sotto face masks.
“Bakit ito… kami ni Senate President ang involved dito, bakit pinapatanggal sa Manila ‘yung mga face mask na pinamimigay namin. Ano mali doon? (We want to ask, since the Senate President and I are involved, why are they asking to remove the face masks in Manila that we have given to the drivers?),’’ Lacson asked Año and Eleazar in the hearing last week.
“Pinapabaliktad daw para ‘di makita ang Lacson-Sotto. (The Lacson-Sotto face masks were forced to be flipped.) You know when you put up streamers in a private property, it’s not a violation, what more if the private person is wearing a face mask?” Lacson said.
”I know the directive did not come from Camp Crame. Walang directive, so bakit sa Manila nga lang? (There is no directive, but why did this only happen in Manila?)” Lacson added.