MANILA - The rift between Senator Manny Pacquiao and two top officials of his political party, the PDP-Laban, namely President Rodrigo Duterte and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, is due to the latter's support for a possible presidential bid next year of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, a supporter of the boxer-politician said Sunday.
"Ang puno’t dulo nito... is between Sara Duterte versus Manny Pacquiao, kasi akala nila, sasabihin nila kay Manny, ‘Sumunod ka lang... huwag kang tumakbo, anak ko yan,’" Monico Puentevella, a longtime friend of Pacquiao, told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(The root cause of this is Sara Duterte and Manny Pacquiao, because they thought they could tell Manny to 'just follow, don't run, that's my child.')
"Ang tao, gusto ring magsilbi. Gusto niya rin tumulong sa mahihirap, d'yan siya galing... Itong away na ito dito sa loob, is really between Sara na may Hugpong (ng Pagbabago) naman, at si Manny sa PDP."
(He also wants to serve. He wants to help the poor, that's where he came from. This in-fighting is really between Sara, who has Hugpong, and Manny from PDP.)
The senator was supposedly ousted as acting president of PDP-Laban following the election of Cusi, the party's vice chair, during the ruling party's national assembly in Pampanga on Saturday.
Duterte, the party's chairman, was present during the assembly and led the oath-taking of new officers.
The Pacquiao-Koko Pimentel-led faction of the party denounced the assembly in Clark, and said it does not recognize the it. Pimentel is the son the late Sen. Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel, Jr., the party's founder.
"They added that all actions made during their 'illegal assembly' have no force and effect over the PDP-Laban because these were not authorized by the members and was not sanctioned by party president Sen. Manny Pacquiao," the faction said in a statement.
Pacquiao, who is currently in the United States to train for his upcoming boxing bout in August, was supposedly replaced because he did not follow orders, said Puentevella.
He was not surprised and even laughed about Cusi replacing him, Pacquiao's ally added.
"Tumawa nga siya. Sabi niya, 'Kung alam ko lang na si Cusi ang papalit sa 'kin bilang presidente, sana pinag-usapan na lang namin.'
Nakakatawa kasi si Cusi is not even an elective personality," said Puentevella.
(He laughed. He said if he only knew Cusi would replace him as president, they could have just talked about it. It's funny because Cusi is not even an elective personality.)
Accusing the other faction as "power-drunk" after Duterte labeled Pacquiao as "punch-drunk", Puentevella said: "Nasa kapangyarihan sila, ipakita naman nila sa taumbayan na merong tayong tinatawag na demokrasya, may proseso,"
(They're in power, they should show the public we have democracy, and there is process.)
Duterte-Carpio had earlier dispelled rumors of a father-daughter tandem in next year's elections, but her father said during the Saturday event he would run for vice presidency for immunity.
Puentevella reiterated his appeal to Duterte to stop his attacks and insults against the senator who, according to him, has not thrown a verbal punch against the President since their rift began.
"Ang masakit dito, ang perception ng tao, sino ba talaga ng edukado? Manny never insults the President. Binabastos siya... Hanggang ngayon, si senator 'di pa bumabanat ng kabastusan. Kaya nakakapagtaka, sino ba talaga ang edukado dito," Puentevella said.
(What hurts is the perception of people on who really is educated? Manny never insults the President. He's made fun of... But until now, the senator has yet to to return the insults. So it really begs the question who here is educated.)
Duterte has repeatedly lashed out against Pacquiao, recently calling him "punch-drunk" for alleging that P10 billion in Social Amelioration Program funds are missing.
"Pacquiao does not know anything. Hindi naman nagbabasa 'yan eh. Basta kung ano lang sabihin ng mga ano niya, sunod," Duterte said during Saturday's event.
(Pacquiao does not know anything. He does not even read. Whatever his people tell him, he just follows.)
Pacquiao and Duterte have been engaged in a word war after the former criticized his once close ally over his position on the South China Sea issue and alleged corruption under the current administration.
Following Pacquiao's revelations, Duterte raised a tax case that the latter fought as boxing superstar.