MANILA - "Dapat pagbigyan natin ang iba" (Let's give others a chance).
This was Sen. Manny Pacquiao's call to those urging Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to run for president in 2022 and succeed her father, President Rodrigo Duterte.
In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN's Karen Davila, the boxer-senator said being a president is "anointed by God".
"Madami gusto maging presidente pero 'di sila pinayagan ng Panginoon maging presidente," he said.
(A lot of people wanted to be president but God rejected them.)
Pacquiao also expressed his concerns on Duterte's possible run for vice-president in 2022, saying it might not be good for the latter.
Members of the ruling party PDP-Laban's national council, of which Pacquiao is acting President, earlier voted on a resolution urging Duterte to run for vice president despite the senator's opposition.
The two have yet to talk about the respective issues.
"Nagsulat ako sa Pangulo na magkaroon kami ng meeting, as a chairman and President, para pag-usapan namin 'yung plano ng partido. Pag-usapan namin lahat kung bagay ba, tama ba na baba siya, kung maganda ba o hindi... Ako naman diretso ako magsalita eh. 'Di naman ako paligoy-ligoy," Pacquiao said.
(I have written to the President for a meeting between us, as chairman and President, so that we can talk about the plans of the party. We'll talk about if this is good for us, if it's good for him to step down ... I'm easy to talk to since I speak directly.)
Pacquiao said he's still waiting for Duterte's response to his letter.
"Walang magagawa dahil ako sumusunod lang sa by-laws ng partido dahil kailangan mag-meeting ang chairman and the President," he said.
(I can't do anything since I only follow the by-laws of the party that the chairman and the President should meet.)
Duterte, who turned 76 this year, has not yet decided on his proposed candidacy, said his spokesman Harry Roque.
As for his Duterte-Carpio's possible presidential run, Roque said, "That’s a decision to be made po by Mayor Sara. I’m sure she is also listening to what the people have to say."
OUT OF PDP?
Despite issues with party mates, Pacquiao said he won't leave PDP-Laban.
The boxing legend said he's not yet certain if he will run for the Philippines' top post, but he asserted he won't be either forced or prevented from running by anyone.
"Democratic country tayo, so lahat, kahit sino, pwede tumakbo," Pacquiao said.
(We're a democratic country, so everyone, anyone, can run.)
The senator meanwhile again criticized Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, vice-chair of PDP-Laban, for holding a party meeting in Cebu that voted on the resolution asking Duterte to run again while there were power outages in Luzon.
"Nakakahiya sa mga tao na nasa Cebu ka, nagmi-meeting ka, nag-uusap ka about politics, ta's dito sa Metro Manila — ewan ko kung Metro Manila lang — nagba-brown out dito, marami naapektuhan," Pacquiao said.
(It's embarrassing that you were in Cebu holding a meeting and talking about politics while here in Metro Manila — I don't know if it's in Metro Manila only — there were brownouts and a lot of people were affected.)
Pacquiao however said he's not holding a grudge against Cusi, who earlier claimed that it was Duterte who told him to hold that meeting.
Amid apparent discord with his partymates, Pacquiao said he believes he still has many supporters within PDP-Laban.
Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda earlier said there is "no doubt in his mind" that Duterte-Carpio will run for president in next year's elections.
Sen. Imee Marcos also told ABS-CBN News in a text message last month that she and her brother, former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., met with Sara over plans for the 2022 national elections.
Duterte-Carpio topped recent surveys on potential presidential candidates but she has consistently denied eyeing the country's highest post.
In January, she told those urging her to seek the presidency to wait until 2034.