Senator Manny Pacquiao, acting president of the ruling party PDP-Laban, warned members to stop their political moves that are “unauthorized” by the party.
Pacquiao made the directive on Friday, March 12, after several party officers and members signed a resolution calling on party chairman President Rodrigo Duterte to run for vice president in 2022.
Pacquiao specifically warned Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, the party vice chairman, to stick to his words.
“Isa lang masasabi ko: Yung salita mo panindigan mo. Huwag mo kainin yung salita mo na wag muna pulitika, at tulong muna sa tao,” Pacquiao said in a response to a reporter’s question on Cusi.
(I only have one thing to say: Stand by what you said that we should help our countrymen first, and not focus on politics.)
“Huwag mong dinidivide ang mga myembro ng partido para gamitin sa sarili mo… Unless tumulong ka, pero kung umiikot ka para sa pulitika wag mo lasunin utak ng partido.... Hindi ko yan pinapahintulutan. Hindi yun sanctioned, 'di yun authorized,” Pacquiao said. (Don't divide the members of the party to serve your own purpose. Unless you're helping, but if you're going around to talk about politics, don't poison the minds of the party. I do not allow it. I do no sanction it. That was not authorized)
“Hindi ako nakikipagaway sayo pero…. hindi ako ang tao na pwede mong larularuin, warning lang," he added. (I am not starting a fight with you.... but I am not the type of person you can fool, just a warning.)
House Deputy Speaker Eric Martinez, who was part of the faction urging Duterte to run for VP, said Cusi informed Senator Aquilino Pimentel III about the resolution
Pimentel is the former party president and the current executive vice chairman.
“[It] s a serious small group meeting, collectively we will have our formal assembly pero it’s a sentiment kasi, proposed draft resolution so informed naman si Sen. Koko about the movements there,” Martinez said in a separate interview with reporters.
Pimentel denied there was again conflict within the party ahead of the elections.
“Don't characterize it as in-fighting. That's why the acting president, Senator Manny Pacquiao is reminding the members of the party,” Pimentel said.
These developments are reminiscent of the party dynamics in 2018-2019, when the party struggled for stability and survival following in-fighting among factions and the external threat from presidential daughter Sara Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago. (READ: PDP-Laban struggles for unity, survival ahead of 2019 polls)
On Thursday, Duterte claimed that his trusted aide Senator Bong Go dreams of becoming president. Go, a party member, ran for senator in 2019 under PDP-Laban.
Pacquiao is also reportedly eyeing the presidency but the world boxing champion has so far remained coy about his plans. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email email@example.com