President Benigno S. Aquino III converses with Vice President Jejomar Binay during the79th Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Day Celebration at the AFP General Headquarters Grandstand of the Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Thursday (December 18, 2014). This year’s theme is: “Sandatahang Lakas: Ika-79 na Taong Naglilingkod ng Tapat tungo sa Kapayapaan, Kaunlaran at Kasaganaan”. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III converses with Vice President Jejomar Binay during the79th Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Day Celebration at the AFP General Headquarters Grandstand of the Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Thursday (December 18, 2014). This year’s theme is: “Sandatahang Lakas: Ika-79 na Taong Naglilingkod ng Tapat tungo sa Kapayapaan, Kaunlaran at Kasaganaan”. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Apr 28 (Mabuhay) – Former rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson admitted Tuesday that Vice President Jejomar Binay asked him if he is interested in becoming his running-mate in the 2016 election.

Lacson said Binay once asked him about his political plans and whether he would be open to joining forces.

“During one of the Cabinet meetings we were seated together and he whispered to me: ‘Ano ang plano mo?’ Sabi ko: ‘Wala pa nga e.’ Sabi niya: ‘Magsama na lang tayo.’”

“After that, I haven’t considered anything yet. Basta ang importante lang is to improve on my numbers, nandoon ang focus muna. I haven’t decided nga e. You cannot put the cart in front of the horse.”

Asked if he is closed to the idea of running with Binay, Lacson said: “Not at all.”

Lacson said he is still getting the public’s pulse on his possible bid for the presidency in 2016. The former senator ran for president in 2004 and placed third in the race with over 3 million votes, behind Fernando Poe Jnr and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Lacson said his political plans would depend on how he performs in the surveys. He said many of his supporters have said voters do not know if he is even interested in pursuing the presidency.

They challenged me: ‘Sir, ikot tayo. Wala ka sa consciousness ng tao. Most of them, they don’t know you are running. They don’t know if you are interested. Because when we asked them who they would vote for, they would give us names. And then when we ask, How about Lacson? Ang unang tanong – tatakbo ba?’ That was the common reaction,” he said.

Lacson said he would only seriously consider running for president if he hits double digits in the surveys. He said he will officially declare his plans by September at the latest.

If he runs for president, Lacson said he will pursue a platform of governance hinged on anti-corruption.

He also wants a detention facility for public officials facing corruption allegations.

He also plans to eradicate patronage politics during his run in 2016.

Lacson said if he is elected president, his first act would be to create a fully equipped anti-corruption unit that would serve as a law enforcement arm of the Office of the Ombudsman.

The former police chief said there is a need to correct government, in order to solve a lot of problems in the country. This, he said, is the same initiative he did when he headed the Philippine National Police during the Estrada administration.

He said when he was national police chief, he dismissed a police official after it was confirmed that the latter was receiving bribes from jueteng lords.

“Right away, I told him you have to get out. I subjected him to dismissal proceedings. I told him: ‘Magkaibigan tayo, all the more you should have followed my instructions.’ And he understood. Hanggang ngayon magkaibigan kami. That is the way it should be because if you have a double standard, once you veer away from being consistent, then all your programs will be destroyed,” he said.

Lacson also praised President Aquino for his personal integrity, saying no one can accuse the president of being corrupt.

Wala namang nagduda o nag-isip na nagnakaw siya. That, to me, is very important. That is leadership. Pagdating sa leadership kailangan on a personal level ikaw ang nangunguna sa gusto mong i-implement. You cannot preach something that you are not practicing,” he said. (MNS)