MANILA - Sen. Manny Pacquiao is "burning bridges" in PDP-Laban, its vice chairman said Tuesday.
Pacquiao, who serves as the ruling party's acting president, should attend the national meetings of PDP-Laban on July 16 and 17, said Energy Secretary and the party's vice chairman Alfonso Cusi.
Pacquiao did not attend the ruling party's executive council meeting last May 31 in Cebu, which his camp had claimed as invalid as it did not have the blessing of the senator.
"As of now, the way I’m looking at it, he’s burning his bridges, he's burning his house, and mahirap naman po na isasama niya ang lahat sa sunog (it would be difficult if he would take along everyone with him)," Cusi told ANC's Headstart.
"I cannot advise him on that. He should discern and sabi nga po namin dito (as we said here), he must've been ill-advised, misinformed and I think it’s best he discuss that with party leaders para maliwanagan lahat (so everyone could be enlightened) and then he can make his decision," he added when asked if Pacquiao should leave the party.
The rift began in December when Pacquiao was "suddenly" elected as acting president in a Thanksgiving party organized by Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, in which President Rodrigo Duterte, the party chair, was not invited, Cusi said.
"It surprised us the following morning, there was a change in leadership. The presidency was turned over to Senator Manny. We have nothing against it," he said.
Cusi said he met with Pimentel in February, wherein the senator told him the position was given to Pacquiao for "exposure because I believe he has plans to run for higher office."
"We don’t mind that but we think it’s best for us to meet. Unfortunately for whatever reason di kami nakapagmeeting (with Pacquiao). This problem could have been discussed sana in a meeting," Cusi said.
(We don’t mind that but we think it’s best for us to meet. Unfortunately for whatever reason we were unable to meet.)
Pimentel, executive vice-chairman and former president of PDP-Laban, cited party rules, saying the executive vice president succeeds the president in the event of a vacancy.
"The party president gave way hence EVP became president under party succession rules. Automatic succession doesn’t need permission to happen," he said in a statement.
"One way to help a partymate running for national office (not necessarily “higher office”) is to give him national exposure and or a national platform through the party. (National office can be senator, VP, or Pres.) One small gesture From partymates helping each other."
Pimentel added that Cusi "should spend more of his time on the power/energy shortage issue that we have as of the moment."
"Saka na ang politika, nasa pandemya pa tayo," he said.
(Set aside politics, we're still in a pandemic.)
The party's vice chairman said there "might be an election" on July 17. PDP-Laban member and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles earlier said the party should ratify officials in an acting position.
ABS-CBN News has reached out to Pacquiao's camp for comment but it has yet to issue a statement.
GO-DUTERTE IN 2022?
More than 90 percent of the party would support a Senator Christopher "Bong" Go and Duterte tandem in next year's polls if the latter throws his support behind the senator, said Cusi.
"Kung magdedesisyon si president na o sige tatakbo ako na bise presidente, pero ang gusto kong ka-tandem ko si Bong Go. Siguro mahina ang 90 percent na susuporta. That is my personal belief considering the clamor I have seen whenever we're going around," he said.
(If the president decides he would run for vice president and he wants Bong Go as his running mate, maybe a 90-percent support from party membership would be a conservative estimate)
"Whoever the president decides to be his running mate, I’m sure the party’s support will not be lower than that."
The clamor for a Go-Duterte tandem started at the Cebu meeting, said Cusi.
A Duterte-Duterte tandem, or Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio running with her father, has not been discussed, Cusi added. Duterte-Carpio belongs to regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
"The party has a process in selecting a candidate, of course we will give priority to our partymate. Wala naman pong plano na adopting a candidate for that matter. Wala po sa agenda yun," he said.
(There's no plan in adopting a candidate for that matter. It's not in the agenda.)
Duterte-Carpio has already doused rumors over her possible 2022 tandem with her father.