MANILA - Sen. Manny Pacquiao is ready to run as an independent candidate should the Commission on Elections (Comelec) recognize Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi's faction as the legitimate ruling party, one of the senator's allies said, Monday.
The two factions of the ruling party filed separate Sworn Information Update Statements (SIUS) earlier this month, and the group which would fail to get the Comelec's approval would have no right to issue Certificates of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) needed to run under a party.
"Ready po siya. Ganiyan po katibay ang prinsipyo ni Sen. Manny Pacquiao," PDP-Laban Pacquiao wing Executive Director Ron Munsayac said.
(He is ready for that. That is how strong Sen. Manny Pacquiao's principle is.)
"Napakarami pong partido na willing sumuporta kay Sen. Manny Pacquiao... pero kinaklaro po namin na hindi sasapi si Sen. Manny sa ibang partido," he said.
(There are a lot of parties that are willing to support Sen. Manny Pacquiao, but we want to clarify that he will not be joining other parties.)
Atty. Melvin Matibag, secretary general of the rival PDP-Laban faction, earlier accused Pacquiao of creating several political parties that would serve as the boxer-senator's back up vehicles should he fail to run as standard bearer of the ruling party.
Munsayac denied this but acknowledged that "there are several parties ready to support him."
Over the weekend, the Pacquiao faction elected Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III as its new party chairman, replacing President Rodrigo Duterte.
This means that the group needs to file an amendment to its SIUS, which was required to be finalized and submitted to the Comelec last August 15.
Munsayac said their group would be meeting with their legal counsels within the day to find out the proper recourse.
The Comelec en banc is expected to decide on which PDP-Laban SIUS it would uphold before the filing of candidacies in October.
Candidates who will fail to get a CONA will have to run as independent bets in the upcoming elections.