Sara not running for President? Pacquiao camp says it's another 'smokescreen'

Katrina Domingo and Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 09 2021 08:27 PM

MANILA - Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's statement Thursday that she is not running for president in the 2022 national elections "is another smokescreen," an official from the PDP-Laban faction of Sen. Manny Pacquiao said.

Duterte-Carpio is allegedly playing the same "script" his father, President Rodrigo Duterte, did when he filed a last-minute substitution to run for president in 2016, said Ron Munsayac, director general of the PDP-Laban wing led by Pacquiao.

"Script pa rin ito. Napanood na namin ito noong 2016," Munsayac said in a virtual press conference.

(This is still part of the script. We already saw this in 2016.)

Duterte in October 2015 said he was not going to run for president in the May 2016 elections. A month later, he said he changed his mind, and in a matter of days, formally file his candidacy under the PDP-Laban, substituting Martin Diño.

Despite questions on the substitution since Diño's Certificate of Candidacy indicated he was running for Pasay City mayor, the Comelec approved Duterte's candidacy for the country's highest office.

"Si Mayor Sara learned most of her political skills from her father. Kami naman po, hindi naman po tayo pinanganak kahapon. Ang tingin natin dito ay isang script sa plano nila," Munsayac said of Duterte-Carpio's latest statement.

(We were not born yesterday. We think this script is still part of their plan.)

Munsayac said the PDP-Laban faction controlled by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi is part of the supposed ploy.

"Of course, nasa kanila (it's with them)," Munsayac said, but declined to name individuals.

Duterte's acceptance of the PDP-Laban Cusi wing's endorsement as their 2022 vice presidential candidate, and the nomination of Senator Christopher "Bong" Go as standard bearer is a zarzuela, said Munsayac.

"It's still a part of the zarzuela. It's still a smokescreen for another candidate outside the PDP-Laban. And I think na ang sinasabi, lahat ng efforts na ginagawa nung mga political appointees na ito ay hindi talaga para sa PDP-Laban na kandidato," he said.

(And I think the message of all efforts by political appointees is that, this is not for a PDP-Laban candidate.)

"Para pa rin ito sa ibang kandidato sa labas ng partido. And yun po ay, hindi ko na po babanggitin ang pangalan. Pero, yun po ay taga-Davao din," he added.

(This is for a candidate outside of the party. I will not mention the name, but the person is also from Davao.)

A few weeks ago, Munsayac named Duterte-Carpio as the one who will benefit from a possible Go-Duterte tandem. Citing party insiders, he said a Duterte daughter-father tandem in 2022 is possible once Go gives way.

While the PDP-Laban was "one of the main pillars of the Duterte presidential campaign" in 2016, members who were left in the Pacquiao wing had nothing to do with the decision to field him as a last-minute candidate at that time, said Munsayac.

What is happening to PDP-Laban now is not a karmic retribution for the ruling party for accommodating Duterte's scheme in 2015, he said.

"'Yung nagawa noon was just a safety net lang talaga," he said.

(What was done before was just a safety net.)

"Accidentally, nagkaroon ng mass support and then sinuportahan si Presidente Digong... May clamor for President Duterte to run," he recounted.

(The party supported President Duterte because accidentally, there was mass support for him then... There was a clamor for him to run.)

"But fast forward to 2021 and the 2022 elections, wala na pong clamor for their candidates. So ibang kuwento na po 'yan."

(But fast forward to 2021 and the 2022 elections, there is no more clamor for their candidates. So it's a different story now.)

While the deadline for the filing of candidacies for next year's elections is on October 8, the last day for substitution of candidates is until November 16.

Munsayac said they would only believe that Duterte-Carpio is not pulling a ruse if she does not file a certificate of candidacy for president until the deadline lapses.

'NA-BUDOL-BUDOL'

Pacquiao's faction will not support the Duterte's planned vice presidential bid as he no longer represents PDP-Laban's core values, Munsayac said.

"Parang nabudol-budol po kami. He does not represent the PDP-Laban anymore," he said.

(It seems like we were swindled.)

Munsayac's team is expected to nominate Pacquiao as their presidential candidate during their national assembly on Sept. 19.

"Based sa lahat lahat ng consultations namin, 100 percent ang suporta kay Sen. Pacquiao whatever his decision is," he said.

(Based on all our consultations, there is 100 percent support for whatever Sen. Pacquiao's decision will be.)

Pacquiao, 42, earlier said that he would run either for president, senator, or retire from politics.

Despite rumors that he is in talks with Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, who is perceived to be Aksyon Demokratiko's possible standard bearer also for next year, the boxer-senator said he is not interested to run for vice president.

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