Philippine democracy

Pacquiao: I still support PNoy and his programs
Manny Pacquiao denies he's a political butterfly, adding he still supports President Aquino

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Sarangani Rep and boxing champ Manny Pacquiao dismissed criticism that he’s a political butterfly, adding he remains supportive of the Aquino administration’s programs.

Interviewed here as he begins his training for his fight with Timothy Bradley in June, Pacquiao told Rappler he would rather not talk about politics for now.

Asked about accusations he’s switched parties too many times, he stressed that he was never part of the ruling Liberal Party in the first place and thus was free to join PDP-Laban, the party headed by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“I’m not a political butterfly,” Pacquiao said in Filipino. “I was never a member of the Liberal Party in the first place, but even if I’m already with PDP-Laban, I still support the President and all his programs.”

On the eve of his departure for Baguio, Pacquiao took his oath as PDP-Laban’s vice president for Mindanao. His position indicates he would have a say on who the party’s candidates would be in the region.

Arroyo to Binay

It was his third time to switch parties.

Under the Arroyo administration, Pacquiao was associated with the “Lito Atienza” wing of the Liberal Party (LP). Atienza, a former Manila mayor, was a close ally of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. His faction later lost control of the LP through a Supreme Court decision.

Later, Pacquiao joined Kampi, the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino, which was founded by Mrs Arroyo.

In the 2010 presidential race, the boxing champ supported the presidential bid of Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen Manuel Villar.

After President Aquino assumed power in June 2010, Pacquiao was one of the first to congratulate him, raising speculations he was joining the Liberal Party.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue however threatened to cite him in contempt over a tax case. That seemed to have soured the ties between him and the adminstration. –

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