(UPDATE) The head of presidential candidate Panfilo Lacson's former party, Partido Reporma, has endorsed his rival, Leni Robredo, shortly after he quit the organization to continue his campaign as an independent.
Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez cited the momentum that's building for Robredo's campaign for his decision. Before supporting Lacson and Robredo, Alvarez was an ally of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte who served as speaker of the House of Representatives.
"The Reporma members and officers concerned, they positively, but realistically, view the opportunity to help ensure that the Leni Robredo campaign is strengthened and further represented by additional sectors of society, especially from those in Mindanao -- our home -- which runs the risk of being neglected again when President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from office," Alvarez said in a press briefing with Robredo.
Reporma members are "not pink, but they are reformists," Alvarez said, referring to Robredo's campaign color.
"With time still left, and admittedly, not a lot of it, decisive action is necessary," he said. "We need a leader and for the 2022 presidential elections and given all these considerations and the crisis we have to overcome, that leader is a woman. Her name is Leni Robredo," he said.
Alvarez said he didn't meet with Lacson face-to-face to discuss the party leaders' shift of allegiance to Robredo.
"Di kami nakapag-usap na ni Sen. Ping personally pero through text messages, nag-communicate po kami."
Lacson's "slim chance of winning" based on pre-election surveys was also factored in in their switch to Robredo, said Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib.
"Sa dalawang presidentiables na nangunguna sa kahit na anong survey, pinili po natin suportahan si Vice President Leni Robredo. Kagaya ni Sen. Lacson, wala pong bahid ng korapsyon ang kanyang paninilbihan noon pa man hanggang ngayon," he said.
Lacson quits own party
Lacson said he resigned as chairman and member of the Partido Reporma as it was "only decent and proper" following the party leaders' decision. He did not mention Robredo in his announcement that was made before the Reporma statement,
"In the face of these recent developments, allow me to say: Like a true-blooded warrior that I am all my life, I will continue this fight in pursuit of my quest to serve my country and our people, as your chief executive -- if God and the Filipino people will it, come May 9, 2022."
Lacson said he harbored no ill-feelings towards partymates who choose to support a different candidate.
"Sa lahat ng miyembro at kandidato ng Partido Reporma sa labas ng Davao del Norte, who joined the party because of our shared advocacy to fight graft and corruption in pursuit of good governance, all for the sake of our beloved country and people -- with or without party affiliation -- I am not leaving you behind," he said.
"I assure you that I will be your leader and supporter in our shared convictions and aspirations. Magkakasama pa rin tayo sa laban na ito."