MANILA (UPDATE) - Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Thursday told Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to follow the bylaws of their party PDP-Laban or leave.
Cusi, the party's vice chairman, earlier said the senator was "burning bridges" in PDP-Laban after he failed to attend an executive council meeting in May and his recent exchange with President Rodrigo Duterte, the party's chair, over corruption allegations.
The senator, however, claimed Cusi wants to split the party.
"Gusto niyang biyakin ang partido dahil wala siyang pagmamahal, wala siyang care sa partido. 'Yan ang totoo," Pacquiao told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
"From now on, gusto kong ipaalam sa kanila, not in my time, as president of the party," he added.
(He wants to split the party because he doesn't love, care for it. That's the truth. From now on, I want to tell them, not in my time as president of the party.)
"Gusto ko silang turuan ng leksyon. I’m the president of the party and you must follow the rules and bylaws of the party. Kung ayaw mo, eh 'di lumipat ka sa ibang partido," said Pacquiao, who is rumored to be eyeing the country's top post next year.
(I want to teach them a lesson. I’m the president of the party and you must follow the rules and bylaws of the party. If you don't like it, then transfer to another party.)
The senator's camp earlier claimed as invalid the party's executive council meeting held in Cebu last month as it did not have his blessing. It was Duterte who asked Cusi to organize and lead the meeting, presidential spokesman Harry Roque had said.
Pacquiao added he has the support of more than 10,000 party members following rumors he would be ousted from his post.
"Ginagampanan ko ang trabaho ko. What violation na ginawa ko para magalit sila, para tanggalin nila ako? May due process ba 'yang gagawin nila? Baka itong si Cusi mismo ang 'di sumusunod sa due process," he said.
(I'm doing my job. What violation did I commit for them to remove me? Is there due process in what they're planning? Maybe it's Cusi who's not following due process.)
"I have more than 10,000 signatures from the members of PDP, for Cusi's information... Sila mismo ang nagpirma at nag-commend sa trabaho ko sa PDP. Suportado nila ako."
(They themselves signed it and commended by work in PDP. They support me.)
Pacquiao has been seen as among Duterte's strongest backers and a possible successor when the latter's 6-year term expires next June.
However, a rift within PDP-Laban, in which Duterte and Pacquiao serve as officers, began when the senator was elected acting president without Duterte's knowledge, Cusi earlier said.
The energy secretary had jested that the ruling party stood for "President Duterte Party" as whomever he throws his support behind for next year's polls would also be backed by majority of its members.
Pacquiao, however, did not find the remark funny.
"Parang lasing ata siya nung nagsasabi siya noon. Parang ginagawa niyang trapo na partido, parang ginagawa niya tulad ng ibang partido," he said.
(It seems like he was inebriated when he said that. He likens the PDP-Laban to a party of corrupt politicians, he treats it like other political parties.)
"Cusi this is a warning to you. Hangga't ako ang presidente ng partidong ito, sumunod kayo sa bylaws ng partido (As long as I'm the president of this party, follow its bylaws."
PDP-Laban's acting Secretary General, lawyer Melvin Matibag, has issued a formal notice regarding the party's National Council meeting on July 16, to be followed by a national assembly on July 17 in Clark, Pampanga.
The May gathering of the party's National Council in Cebu resulted in a call for Duterte to seek the vice presidency in next year's elections, and for him to choose his running mate.
Pacquiao this year criticized Duterte's softened approach on the South China Sea issue, and the lingering problem on corruption in government.