MANILA—Senator Manny Pacquiao should focus his campaign in Mindanao to get a majority of votes in the region, if he wants to win in the presidency, a political expert said Tuesday.
According to lawyer Tony La Viña, former dean of the Manila-based Ateneo School of Government, Pacquiao should "steal" the Duterte votes from Mindanao, especially now that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said she will not run fro president.
"Ang sinasabi ko sa Pacquiao team, Mindanao muna kayo mag-campaign for 3 months. 'Wag na muna 'yung ibang lugar. Get the bloc vote from the Mindanao. Steal it from the Duterte camp, di ba? Kung makuha nila 'yun, then they also position, like Duterte was positioned to win," La Viña told Teleradyo.
(I told the Pacquiao team to focus campaigning in Mindanao for 3 months. Do not go to other places. Get the bloc vote from Mindanao. Steal it from the Duterte camp, right? If they get it, then they will also position, like Duterte was positioned to win.)
"Kasi right now up for grabs 'yang boto na 'yan, lalo na Sara is saying hindi siya tatakbo. Kasi natuto 'yung Mindanao to vote as a bloc. They want a president from Mindanao," he added.
(Right now that bloc vote is up for grabs, especially since Sara said she will not run. The people of Mindanao have learned to vote as a bloc. They want a president from Mindanao.)
Pacquiao, who hails from General Santos City, announced his plan to run for president with a promise to rule with "integrity, compassion and transparency."
His group is backed by Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, son of PDP-Laban founder and former Sen. Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr.
Earlier this year, the ruling party had split into two factions after Pacquiao blocked his partymates' efforts to push Duterte to run for vice president next year.
That rival group initially urged Pacquiao to run for senator in a slate top-billed by Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go for president and President Rodrigo Duterte for vice president.
Pacquiao's camp said Go was only a decoy, as the Alfonso Cusi wing is actually preparing to field Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is not a PDP-Laban member, as its standard bearer.
Duterte-Carpio denied allegations she will run for president, and said she would not "share her light" with the ruling party by endorsing its candidates.
— With reports from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News