Forgoing his original plan to seek Pampanga's gubernatorial post in the May 2010 elections, Sen. Manuel "Lito" Lapid filed his certificate of candidacy (CoC) for reelection today, November 25, at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office in Intramuros, Manila City.
According to the action star, Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo advised him not to run for a local position, but instead to join Lakas-Kampi-CMD's senatorial ticket.
"Sabi niya kung puwede daw ako tumakbo muli bilang senador kasi si Senator Bong Revilla, halos kaming dalawa na lang ang natira sa partido. Ang sabi ko, napag-usapan naming dalawa ni Bong na manatili kami," Lapid told the press.
Lapid said he can't say no to the President.
"Kailangan kasi ako ng partido. Kasi ang loyalty natin sa partido at ating mahal na pangulo, lalung-lalo ngayon iniiwanan siya ng mga kasamahan namin, hindi ko siya maiiwan. Andito ako para sa kanya," Lapid told reporters.
The apparent lack of qualified senatorial candidates in the ruling party started when big-name politicians started defecting to other political parties. Some of them include Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos and husband Ralph Recto; Cavite Gov. Erineo "Ayong" Maliksi; Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim; Alaminos, Pangasinan Mayor Hernani Braganza; Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte and Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista; and Cebu Rep. Antonio Cuenco. All of these politicians have now joined the Liberal Party, in support of Senator Noynoy Aquino.
Asked what he plans to do if he returns to the Senate, Lapid said, "Itutuloy ko na lang po 'tong mga trabaho ko sa Senado kung mabibigyan pa po ako ng isang pagkakataon ng ating mga kababayan."
Lapid is the first senatorial candidate under Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro to file his CoC. He said he chose to file early because he might not make the deadline if he waits for the other prospective bets.
Teodoro's camp recently declared that they would file their COCs either on November 30 or December 1. Election insiders, however, said the party is still undegoing deliberations on who to include in the 12 senatorial slots, hence the filing of their COCs "might be late."
Expected candidates to join Lapid are Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. , Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Secretary to the Cabinet Silvestre Bello, Binalonan Mayor and League of Municipalities of the Philippines president Mayor Ramon Guico, Federation of Philippine Industries' Jesus Arranza, and broadcaster Rey Langit.
Lapid was Pampanga governor from 1997 to 2003. He won as senator in 2004, running under the administration ticket K-4. He also ran for mayor of Makati City in 2007, but lost to incumbent Mayor Jejomar Binay.
Some of the bills he spearheaded in the Senate are a bill that gives tax breaks to lawyers who give free services to the poor, a bill that requires proposed laws to be written in Filipino, and a bill banning the use of staple wires in food packaging.
Lapid has been criticized for non- participation in Senate sessions. Senate records show, however, that the low-key senator was rarely absent.
Lapid rose from being a stuntman to a most-sought action star in his heyday. He has appeared in around 80 films, including Back to Back (1979) with Tony Ferrer, Kalibre .45 (1980) with Fernando Poe, Jr., Kastilyong Buhangin (1980) with Nora Aunor, Yakapin Mo Ko, Lalaking Matapang (1980) with Vilma Santos, and Kamaong Asero (1981) with Alma Moreno.
His last film was the 2006 Metro Manila Film Festival entry Tatlong Baraha, with sons Mark and Maynard Lapid.