MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Manny Pacquiao remain allies despite a rift within their political party over a meeting that pushed the Chief Executive to run for vice president in the 2022 elections, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Pacquiao, president of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), earlier urged its members to ignore Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi's call for an assembly. But it was revealed on Sunday that it was President Rodrigo Duterte, the party's chairman, who instructed Cusi to lead the meeting.
The assembly pushed through on Monday, where members pressed Duterte to run for vice president next year, when his term as Chief Executive ends.
There is no hindrance should Pacquiao seek an audience with Duterte after these developments, the President's spokesman Harry Roque said in a press briefing.
Asked if the senator and the President remains allies, Roque said: "I believe so."
"Wala namang nagyayaring pagbabago bagama't natuloy po ‘yong PDP-Laban [assembly]. He remains to be party president as of now," he said.
(There has be no change, though the PDP-Laban assembly pushed through.)
Pacquiao in May criticized Duterte's stance on China's incursions in the West Philippine Sea as "lacking."
In March, The boxing icon-turned-senator chided PDP-Laban members who urged Duterte to run as vice president in the 2022 elections, following suggestions that his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio should gun for the presidency.
Duterte-Carpio topped a recent survey on most preferred presidential candidates, while Pacquiao trailed at fourth place.
The Duterte patriarch, 76, is not eligible for re-election. He has repeatedly denied that his daughter would run in the 2022 presidential race.
However, he "leaves to God" whether or not he would run for vice president, at least two of his aides said last week.
Duterte is pondering on his nomination as vice presidential bet, said Roque. Meanwhile, several senators earlier said Pacquiao intends to become PDP-Laban's standard bearer next year.
Video courtesy of PTV
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