Forming own national party grounds to expel Pacquiao – PDP-Laban exec

Pia Ranada
Forming own national party grounds to expel Pacquiao – PDP-Laban exec

THROWING PUNCHES. Senator Manny Pacquiao faces a boxing match abroad and a political fight back home.

Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions

In 2019, the senator had already said he planned to turn People's Champ Movement into a national party

The PDP-Laban faction backed by President Rodrigo Duterte says Senator Manny Pacquiao’s intention to form his own national political party is grounds to expel him from the ruling party.

PDP-Laban secretary general Melvin Matibag claimed on Thursday, August 12, that Pacquiao’s regional party People’s Champ Movement (PCM) had changed its constitution and by-laws to turn itself into a national party to back the senator’s plans for 2022.

This, said Matibag, is a “major ground for expulsion from his membership in the PDP-Laban.”

He sent media photos of the supposed minutes of a December 20, 2020, meeting of PCM members in which the party turned itself into a national party and elected Pacquiao’s sister-in-law Lorelie Pacquiao (a General Santos City councilor) as party president.

Senator Pacquiao was party president before PCM’s change of status to a national party. It’s not clear if the senator now holds any officer position in PCM.

Pacquiao’s camp is yet to respond to reporters’ queries on Matibag’s claims. The senator is in the United States for his boxing match.

But his ally, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who leads the other PDP-Laban faction, said the claims are a non-issue since it is Pacquiao’s sister-in-law, not Pacquiao himself, who is leading PCM as a national party.

“That is not Manny Pacquiao, hence no effect at all on PDP-Laban or on Senator Manny. Lorelie is not a PDP-Laban member. What is the issue?” he told Rappler.

As early as March 2019, Pacquiao said he had intended to turn PCM into a national party by 2022.

In mid-July, the Duterte-backed PDP-Laban group ousted Pacquiao and Pimentel from their positions as party officers. The faction supported by the President now intends to field Senator Bong Go and Duterte himself as candidates for president and vice president, respectively, in the 2022 elections. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.