Pacquiao group: Opponents just want to distract senator ahead of August 21 fight
MANILA—Nearly a week before Sen. Manny Pacquiao fights in America, his rivals within his political party, PDP-Laban, threatened Pacquiao with expulsion for allegedly violating the organization’s constitution and bylaws.
In a statement released late Thursday afternoon, the faction of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi accused Pacquiao of transforming his formed regional party People’s Champ Movement into a national political organization, which is an alleged violation of their party rules.
Melvin Matibag, a Cusi ally, said PCM's transformation happened during a meeting on December 20 in Pacquiao’s house in General Santos City.
The gathering was supposedly highlighted by the PCM's amendment of its constitution and bylaws, along with the election of its new set of officers, he said.
“Sen. Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao’s latest punch has virtually created for himself a rabbit hole, one that could lead to his expulsion from [PDP-Laban],” Matibag said in an online message.
“News quoting reliable sources said Pacquiao is allegedly converting the People's Champ Movement (PCM), his regional political party, into a national political party, a major ground for expulsion from his membership in the PDP-Laban.”
Matibag’s camp shared screenshots of the supposed “minutes of the organizational meeting” bearing the names of Pacquiao as the group president; his kin, Rogelio Pacquiao, as the executive vice president; and other party officials.
The screenshots showed the alleged agenda in the supposed meeting, including the re-organization of PCM, among other matters.
The provided documents, however, did not carry the signatures of any of the names that appeared on the paper. As of this writing, Matibag’s camp has yet to provide signed portions of the supposed PCM minutes of the meeting.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who now sits as vice-chairman of Pacquiao wing of PDP-Laban, called the Cusi faction’s allegations a “bluff” intended only to distract Pacquiao from his bout.
“The PDP-Laban Constitution has consistently been interpreted by knowledgeable leaders of the party over the decades not to prohibit membership in the party and membership in a regional political party at the same time,” said Pimentel, whose father, the late Senate president Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., founded the party.
“The snapshots of documents being circulated actually show that within days of becoming PDP-Laban President, Senator Manny Pacquiao gave up the presidency of the People’s Champ Movement, a regional political party. This was an act which was not even required of him to do,” Pimentel said.
He also called the Cusi faction “unpatriotic” for targeting Pacquiao at this time when the senator is busy preparing for his fight.
“This is the first time that a group of Filipinos, because of politics, has organized an effort meant to distract our Pambansang Kamao while he fights in the boxing ring to bring additional honor to our country. How unpatriotic of this group of politicians!” Pimentel said.
Ron Munsayac, executive director of the Pacquiao wing, said those “peddling lies” against Pacquiao have long been expelled from PDP-laban.
He was referring to the supposed expulsion of Cusi and Matibag for allegedly violating several provisions of the party's constitution.
“The desperation of the claims against Sen. Manny Pacquiao show the malicious nature of the cause of the usurpers and expelled members of PDP Laban who have no rights or authority whatsoever to represent or lead the Party,” Munsayac said.
He added: “Also, the expelled members are leading a group illegally acting as the leaders of the Party without any basis or authority. All their acts are therefore null and void for being in utter violation of the Party Constitution.”
Munsayac said that the December 20 documents being circulated by Matibag was actually the day when Pacquiao relinquished the PCM’s presidency, so he could focus more on playing his role in PDP-Laban.
Pacquiao remains a member of the PCM, similar to President Rodrigo Duterte, who is both a PDP-Laban and Hugpong ng Pagbabago member, he emphasized.
“He's unlike the expelled group who have outwardly endorsed the candidacy of a person who is a member of another national party even if there are able and willing candidates within PDP Laban. They wanted to propagate the ideals of another national political party,” Munsayac said.