Should he win in the May 2022 national elections, presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo M Lacson he has clear boundaries set between his public and private lives.
He said he does not want to get members of his immediate family, including his wife, Alice, and their children, involved in government affairs, as much as possible.
“Alam naman natin e, even in the past, ‘pag nakialam ‘yung kamag-anak [o] ‘pag nakialam ‘yung pamilya sa opisyal na trabaho ng isang public official minsan diyan nagkakaroon ng mga compromises (We all know, even in the past, once a relative or family member intervenes in the job of a public official, that is where compromises could happen),” he said.
The Partido Reporma chief, who has been espousing the principle of ‘leadership by example,’ said his wife, Alice, would be satisfied to take the role of a ‘ceremonial First Lady’ should he get himself elected as the 17th head of state in the upcoming 2022 elections.
As he turns 74 in June, Lacson said that with age comes wisdom from acquired experiences as he shared some of the lessons he learned in his own personal struggles during the most difficult period of his life in public service.
While he is aware that tales of betrayal are par for the course when one enters the world of politics, Lacson said he still found it distressing to realize that the people who earned your trust and you thought were your friends would be capable of turning against you.
During a TV interview, Lacson said that he would not wish for anyone to go through the same ordeal as he did—to be persecuted in public for crimes he did not commit—because it is one of the most painful experiences that could happen to a person.
‘’I hope you won’t experience this. I just hope and pray you don’t experience what I’ve been through because it hurts to see your old friends, who you thought were your real friends, turn their backs on you and persecute you; to be ostracized like you had leprosy. I went through all that,’’ he pointed out.
Lacson was talking about those moments when he found out that his former colleagues in the Philippine National Police (PNP) conspired with the people working for his political opponents to assassinate his character by linking him to several illegal activities despite their lack of evidence.
He asserted that he was a ‘fugitive from injustice’ when he fled the country in 2010 and made himself scarce, which was a ‘judgment call’ on his part, to avoid going into prison on trumped-up charges perpetrated by some powerful people in government who just felt threatened by his rise in politics.
Lacson said he agonized about it even as he got vindicated by the courts, which ruled in his favor and dismissed the cases filed against him. Regardless, Lacson said he would not trade that experience because it also taught him a valuable lesson about loyalty and friendship.
“I’m reminded, somebody said a long time ago, there are two kinds of friends in this world: the jealous—‘yung (the) envious—they drop out on your way up; the opportunistic ones, they drop out on your way down. Ako, ‘yan ang na-experience ko (That is what I experienced),” he said.
“But then there is that third rare kind, ‘yon ‘yung talagang (those are the) true friends na talagang they will be there for you through thick and thin. ‘Yan ang aking lesson, ano (that is the lesson I learned). Alam ko [na] ngayon kung sino ‘yung mga talagang totoong kaibigan (I now know who my real friends are),” Lacson added.
Lacson said these ‘real friends,’ including his most loyal staff members in the Senate, are among the people who are helping him survive the challenges of politics. Besides his integrity, which he considered as his ‘most prized possession’ in life, the veteran lawmaker also expressed how much he values his working relationship with his employees.
“When I’m [with them], especially when I’m in a good mood, hindi ako ‘yung boss nila (I am not their boss). They know me more than any[one], probably even more than my friends,” Lacson said of his Senate staff.