MANILA - Sen. Manny Pacquiao has issued a memorandum directing PDP-Laban members to "ignore" Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi's call for a national assembly by the end of the month, the party confirmed Thursday.
In a memorandum dated May 25, Pacquiao, who is party president, "strongly advised" his party-mates not to heed "Cusi's letter calling for a national assembly on May 31, 2021."
"Yes, this is a legitimate memorandum from the national headquarters," PDP-Laban Executive Director Ron Munsayac said when asked about the document that has been circulating on social media.
"Any call for a national council and/or assembly must be approved by both the chairman and the president only," read a highlighted part of Pacquiao's memorandum.
The ruling party's chairman is President Rodrigo Duterte.
Munsayac did not give details on why Cusi is calling for an assembly about 5 months before the filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2022 national elections.
In March, Pacquiao warned Cusi not to sow division within the ruling party after the energy chief and his allies allegedly pushed Duterte to run for vice president in the upcoming elections.
"Si Cusi naman, hindi ako nakikipagaway sa iyo [pero] hindi ako ang tao na puwede mo lang laru-laruin," Pacquiao said in a press conference.
(As for Cusi, I am not quarreling with you but I am not the person you can toy with.)
"Kung umiikot ka, pulitika pinaguusapan mo, 'wag mo lasunin ang mga utak ng mga miyembro ng partido para magkahiwa-hiwalay," he said.
(If you are going around the country talking about politics, do not poison the minds of party members and sow division.)
Earlier this month, Pacquiao denied that there was a rift within the ruling party, saying members had cordial relations.
"So far, maganda naman 'yung relation namin sa PDP-Laban. Nagco-communicate tayo sa kanila from time to time," the senator said.
(So far, our relationship within PDP-Laban is good. We communicate with them from time to time.)
"Okay naman sila. Nananatili sila sa PDP-Laban. Wala naman akong nakikita sa ngayon [na paksyon]," he said.
(They are okay. They are still with PDP-Laban. I don't see any factions as of now.)
Several senators earlier said Pacquiao intends to become PDP-Laban's standard bearer next year.
Cusi's bloc had allegedly sought members' signatures to convince the incumbent Philippine president to run as vice president next year.