Filipino boxing idol says he won't force himself into LP
MANILA, Philippines - The decision of Sarangani Congressman and 8-division world boxing champ Manny Pacquiao to join the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) party of Vice-President Jejomar Binay means a big loss for the Liberal Party (LP) of President Aquino, former Senator Ernesto Maceda said.
Maceda, an ally of Binay, said Pacquiao’s support is huge. He said the country's boxing idol can get lots of votes in Soccsksargen, a region in Mindanao that includes Sarangani, South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and General Santos City.
Maceda, who served as Philippine ambassador to the US under the Estrada administration, also said he received reports that some LP stalwarts did not want Pacquiao in the party.
“He is a big loss for the LP. He is an incumbent congressman. He is a big fish, a big addition. I don’t know why he didn't push through in the LP but there are a lot of reports that if there are original Liberals in a province or municipality and if they say no, they will not take in the new member,” he said.
"I admire Pacquiao because it was not easy to shun the administration and join the opposition,’ he added.
Ties with GMA, Atienza
Earlier reports said Pacquiao’s joining the LP was marred by his perceived closeness to former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, who led a breakaway faction in the LP. He is also the political rival of the Antoninos, who are allied with LP President Mar Roxas.
Maceda also hinted that Pacquiao’s joining Binay's party could affect the boxing champ’s pork barrel releases and his ongoing contempt case with the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
“Kung maiipit siya o hindi, it depends on the policy of [Budget Secretary] Butch Abad if the pork barrel will be released or not. Yun lang nakikita kong pag-iipit sa kanya. Also his case in the BIR,” he said.
Done deal with Binay
Speaking to ABS-CBN’s “Umagang Kay Ganda” on Monday, Pacquiao said he already has an internal agreement with Binay but has yet to schedule the oath-taking.
He admitted that he wanted to join the LP but encountered some problems. He said he will not force himself in the LP if the party does not want him.
“Matagal na ako naghihintay pero siguro, may problema… Hindi ko nga alam kung bakit hindi ako nakapag take oath nung nakaraan. Hindi ko naman ipipilit ang sarili ko kung hindi ako tanggappin,” he said.
He added: “Wala naman problema sa akin yun. Pero hindi nangangahulugan yon na hindi ko suportahan ang mabuting adhikain ng administrasyon. Ineendorso ko naman lahat ng government agencies niya like yung PCSO, tourism. I will also endorse DSWD.”
Vice-President Jejomar Binay earlier confirmed that Pacquiao has accepted his invitation to join PDP-Laban. Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the boxing champ will be the party’s official gubernatorial bet in the 2013 polls.
‘I can feed my family, without pork barrel’
Pacquiao, however, noted that his pork barrel funds have so far been released. He also noted that President Aquino has promised to release pork barrel funds, whether or not a lawmaker is a member of the opposition.
“Pag inipit nila ako, hindi naman ako ang maipit. Kahit wala akong budget, kaya ko naman pakainin ang pamilya ko. May pera ako. Pag inipit nila ako, hindi ako ang iniipit nila pero ang constitutents ko na laging tinatawag ni president na boss,” he said.
He dismissed talk that his joining PDP-Laban will affect his tax case before the BIR. He said the tax case was the result of miscommunication and is now being handled by his lawyers.
The BIR earlier filed charges against Pacquiao for his failure to submit copies of his endorsement contracts.
PNoy snubbed Pacquiao?
Pacquiao also downplayed reports that President Aquino deliberately failed to mention him during his speech in the Mindanao energy summit last Friday.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino did not deliberately snub Pacquiao since there were many lawmakers present at the Waterfront Insular Hotel.
Pacquiao said he was seated about 5 feet away directly in front of the President during Aquino’s speech.
“I don’t know why he didn’t mention me. Kumbaga sa ano, banggitin niya o hindi, OK lang sa akin yun. Ang tinitignan ko palagi is yung pagseserbisyo ng tama na para sa mga tao. Kung magiging tiwali lang ako tulad ng ibang pulitiko, ayaw ko nang magserbisyo kasi masaya naman ako sa buhay ko. Yung sa akin ang gusto kong ipakita yung tamang pagserbisyo, yung honest,” he said.
Asked again by UKG host Anthony Taberna about the snub, he said: “OK lang naman. Kilala naman ako ng mga tao. Ang importante sa akin ay magandang adhikain at magandang programa dahil hindi na biro ang kahirapan.”
For his part, Maceda said he believes Aquino deliberately chose not to acknowledge Pacquiao in his speech.
“Mukha talagang ayaw banggitin ng pangulo. Siguro masama ang loob ng pangulo na siya'y sumapi sa PDP-Laban,” he said.