MANILA - The faction of Sen. Manny Pacquiao in the ruling PDP-Laban party will not support the Go-Duterte tandem as the party's supposed standard-bearers for the 2022 national elections.
Even though Pacquiao's rival group, led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, has endorsed the supposed presidential bid of Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go and the vice-presidential run of President Rodrigo Duterte, the boxer-senator's camp deems the lineup illegitimate.
According to Pacquiao's ally, PDP-Laban executive director Ron Munsayac, the resolution endorsing the Go-Duterte tandem that will be presented by Cusi's group during the party's national convention on Sept. 8 is "unauthorized from the very first step."
"We have 100,000 nationwide consultations. Tingin po ng karamihan ng mga kapartido namin na etong [Go-Duterte] tandem ay parang smokescreen lamang para sa isang Sara Duterte presidency,” Munsayac told ABS-CBN News.
PDP-Laban longtime official Sen. Koko Pimentel earlier accused Cusi's group of seeking the presidential bid of Davao Mayor City Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of President Duterte, even though the former is an outsider of the party.
Munsayac claimed that Go will eventually back out of the presidential race and give the whole party machinery to Duterte-Carpio, which in turn, will leave out other PDP-Laban candidates.
PDP-Laban Visayas Lutgardo Barbo agreed with Munsayac’s claims.
“Are they serious na si Bong Go ay gawing president? Kasi ang pagkaintindi ko, Sara ang kanilang bini-build up because there are speculations that Bong Go will have to give way to Sara,” Barbo said in a separate interview.
“Mukhang ginagawa lang play thing, laruan lang ang pulitika. Assuming na Bong Go at Duterte, and let say na nanalo sila. It is not beyond speculation to say that Bong Go can give in to the president,” he added.
Barbo, one of the original PDP-Laban members when the party was founded, said many party “originals” are against the Go-Duterte tandem.
“Pparang malaswa yata 'yung Bong Go atsaka Duterte. Parang merong political sense of propriety na hindi aprubado ng mga disenteng mga tao. I think they are making politics as some kind of a play thing, laruan lang na pwede tayong lansihin,” Barbo said.
Duterte-Carpio has refused to comment on the matter. Go, meanwhile, said he is prioritizing “service over politics.”
PDP-Laban Secretary General Melvin Matibag, an ally of Cusi, took a swipe at Barbo, saying that the party, or their faction at least, is busy preparing for the 2022 elections, including evaluating contenders for various positions.
“We are busy preparing PDP-Laban and its candidates for the coming national elections. If Atty. Barbo is not happy with that, then there is no need to argue–he is free to leave,” Matibag said.
PACQUIAO TO OPPOSITION?
Munsayac, who also serves as Pacquiao’s spokesperson, confirmed Vice President Leni Robredo's earlier revelation that she has talked to Pacquiao as she sought options for the good of the country in the upcoming 2022 elections.
Pacquiao, who is in the US for his fight against Errol Spence Jr., was happy after his talk with Robredo, Munsayac said. He however noted that the boxer-senator is not part yet of the opposition, which Robredo is a large figure of.
"We won’t call ourselves opposition pa naman. Pero he’s an incumbent senator meeting the Vice President. Pwedeng napag-usapan nila kung ano 'yung pwede nilang magawa together at saka ikabubuti ng bansa. Pwede ring napag-usapan ang eleksyon kasi lahat ng tao nakatingin na dun,” Munsayac said.
The opposition should not only talk among themselves but also to administration candidates regarding candidates in next year's polls, Robredo earlier emphasized.
She however has called for the opposition to unify and support one presidential candidate to defeat the administration's bet for the 2022 elections.