(UPDATE) Presidential candidate Panfilo Lacson said Thursday he dropped Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian and former Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista from his senatorial ticket after the two attended the proclamation rally of his rival.
"Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian and ex-Mayor Herbert Bautista have made their choices of the principles and advocacies that they will embrace moving forward in this political exercise," Lacson said in a tweet.
"Obviously, they are not ours. They now cease to be part of the Lacson-Sotto team," he added.
Gatchalian and Bautista are both members of the Nationalist People's Coalition, which Lacson's running mate, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, chairs. The tandem had been open about supporting the candidacy of two senatorial bets.
Lacson and Sotto first confirmed that Bautista was out of their slate in a press conference in Quezon City on Wednesday.
Bautista supposedly wrote to them asking to be the representative of the Nationalist People's Coalition in the Marcos-Duterte ticket.
When asked if Bautista was officially removed from their slate, Lacson said: "Wala na."
"Now, sa party nila, desisyon nila kung e-expel nila si Herbert kasi NPC," he added, referring to Sotto's party.
Following the announcement that he has been removed from the Lacson-Sotto slate, Bautista thanked the tandem for including him in their ticket, adding he could now openly campaign for Marcos and Duterte-Carpio.
“While my belief is that politics is addition, I have no ill feelings after they decided to remove my name from their senatorial ticket. Their decision, however, will afford me the opportunity to openly campaign for the BBM-Sara UniTeam,” Bautista was quoted as saying in a GMA News report.
In a press conference on Thursday, Lacson also showed a clip of Gatchalian endorsing Marcos and Duterte-Carpio during their proclamation rally last Tuesday.
"Ang nakita namin, they have chosen to embrace a different set of advocacies and principles, and to us non-negotiable yung mga principles," Lacson said.
"We don't care if you don't endorse us, but please don't endorse other tandems or other candidates, for that matter," he added.
Gatchalian said he respects the decision to remove him from the Lacson-Sotto ticket.
"I have worked first hand with Sen. Lacson and SP Sotto and I have nothing but utmost respect and admiration for the two gentlemen. I have seen their dedication to serve our people and their pure love for our beloved country," he said in a separate tweet.
"For this, I respect the decision of their leadership. I also apologize for any misunderstanding that I may have caused," he added.
The Lacson-Sotto senatorial slate is composed of former PNP chief Guillermo Eleazar, Dr. Minguita Padilla, and former congressman and taekwando champion Monsour Del Rosario, along with several former and incumbent senators as guest candidates.