Pacquiao building other political parties as 'fall-back', Cusi faction claims

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2021 07:36 PM

Sen. Manny Pacquiao during a Senate session on June 1, 2021.
Sen. Manny Pacquiao during a Senate session on June 1, 2021. Henzberg Austria, Senate PRIB/File

MANILA - A faction of the ruling party PDP-Laban on Tuesday accused Sen. Manny Pacquiao of creating several national political parties to allegedly boost his presidential bid next year.

Aside from regional party People’s Champ Movement, Pacquiao allegedly formed the Labor Party of the Philippines (LPP) to serve as his back-up party, said Melvin Matibag, secretary general of PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

"'Yung pagtayo niya ng People's Champ Movement, they are all connected. Kung hindi man niya makuha yung PDP, mayroon pa siyang back-up," Matibag claimed in an online press conference.

(The establishment of the People's Champ Movement, they are all connected. If Pacquiao fails to get PDP-Laban, he still has a back up.)

"Kung makuha naman niya ang PDP... They were thinking na Manny Pacquiao is a very strong candidate, lahat magpupuntahan sa kaniya so hindi maa-accommodate sa PDP, so dito ka sa People's Champ Movement," he said.

(If he manages to control PDP-Laban... They were thinking na Manny Pacquiao is a very strong candidate, that all candidates will flock to him and PDP cannot accommodate everyone, so they can refer other candidates to run under the People's Champ Movement.)

Pacquiao's son Jimuel was even named as LPP's youth affairs committee chairman, he alleged.

"May violation ba si Sen. Pacquiao? Wala. We are just saying na ang family ni Sen. Pacquiao is busy putting up political parties," Matibag said.

(Did Sen. Pacquiao violate anything? No. We are just saying that his family is busy putting up political parties.)

"Ang sinasabi ko lang mukhang there is a plan to put up a lot of national political parties para doon sa desire na tumakbo siyang presidente, ma-secure nila," he said.

(What I am saying is there is a plan to put up a lot of national political parties so that they can secure his desire to run for president.)

ABS-CBN News has yet to get a response from Pacquiao's camp regarding these allegations.

PDP-Laban has splintered into 2 factions, with each group pushing for its own presidential candidate in the upcoming 2022 national elections.

Matibag's group wants Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go to run for president with incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte as his vice president.

Pacquiao - who reportedly wants to vie for the presidency - is backed by Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, the son of PDP-Laban founder late Sen. Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr.

In July, Pacquiao - who is PDP-Laban President - expelled Cusi, Matibag and another official from the ruling party for allegedly violating several provisions of the party's constitution.

Pacquiao said Cusi and Matibag have been "disloyal" to the party after they allegedly pushed a non-member to be PDP-Laban's standard bearer in 2022.

Cusi's group, including PDP-Laban chair Rodrigo Duterte, snubbed the ruling and went on to forge its own set of officers and a potential slate for the upcoming elections.

Earlier this month, Cusi's faction threatened to expel the boxer-senator from the ruling party should the lawmaker fail to explain alleged complaints on loyalty and violation of their constitution.

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