Senator Manny Pacquiao’s bets for mayor and other local positions in General Santos City and Sarangani province found themselves meeting and weighing their options after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rejected a petition to accredit the People’s Champ Movement (PCM) as an accredited national political party.
The Comelec decision on Friday, October 29, turned all of them into independent aspirants for various positions.
Without a Comelec-recognized political party, candidates under the PCM would not be entitled to poll watchers, access to official precinct level counts, and copies of the canvass of votes in the 2022 elections.
“This is a big blow to PCM, and a score for their opponents,” said local political observer Edward Redentor Lim.
Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr., PCM bet for General Santos vice mayor, said members of his ticket have started meeting and would sit down with their lawyers to determine what actions to take.
“We were shocked to learn about it (the Comelec decision),” Gacal told Rappler on Sunday, October 31.
But Gacal said the initial consensus was for their group to appeal the decision of the Comelec.
If the Comelec does not reconsider, he said it would be his first time in his years in politics to run for public office as an independent candidate.
Pacquiao’s sister-in-law and PCM mayoral bet, Lorelie Pacquiao, also found herself becoming an independent.
Lorelie, a barangay chairperson given a seat in the city council, could not be reached for comment as of this posting.
The Comelec decision also affected PCM bets, including Senator Pacquiao’s brother Rogelio, who is running for governor in Sarangani.
Rogelio is currently Sarangani’s representative, and a deputy speaker.
PCM was formed by Senator Pacquiao in 2009 to be a regional political party based in General Santos.
It fielded candidates in previous elections and many of the incumbent local officials ran for various positions under the group.
Now, PCM has fielded complete sets of bets for councilors, mayors, governors and congressmen in the city and Sarangani province.
After the senator announced in September his decision to cease serving as PCM leader because he had expected to become PDP-Laban’s candidate for President, the PCM central committee amended the group’s constitution and by-laws, and then named Pacquiao’s sister-in-law Lorelie as its president.
A leadership crisis and squabbles in the administration PDP-Laban subsequently forced Pacquiao to run for president under the Cebu-based Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives or Probinsya Muna Development Initiative (Promdi) party. – Rappler.com
Rommel Rebollido is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship