Senator and retired boxer Manny Pacquiao was advised to stop picking a fight against a non-candidate in next year’s elections and to instead sell himself to the public as a capable candidate for president.
This as Pacquiao seemingly offered himself as a standard-bearer of PDP Laban, President Duterte’s party where he was ousted along with Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III for attacks on the administration.
Pacquiao said he’s willing to unify his claimed “faction” with PDP Laban chaired by the President, but only if its president, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, is no longer affiliated with the ruling party.
“What I want is to unite the PDP. We should not have contrasting advocacies,” Pacquiao said, citing the need to remove Cusi allegedly for politicking instead of focusing on the energy sector.
Reacting to Pacquiao’s tirades, PDP Laban secretary-general Melvin Matibag said Pacquiao should stop “trying to pick a fight with a non-candidate,” referring to Cusi.
Matibag said Pacquiao should instead focus on the “strength of his candidacy” with the Cebu-based PROMDI party that took him in after being booted out from PDP Laban.
“Secretary Cusi remains the president of the PDP Laban. He was placed there in an election presided [over] and witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte as chairman of the party, Matibag said.
Matibag bluntly said that the ex-boxer’s statement was “clearly misplaced and not properly thought out.”
The PDP Laban of the President and Cusi has petitioned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to declare the Pimentel-Pacquiao “faction” as illegal representatives of the party.
The Comelec is expected to release its decision on the petition by the end of the year.
Before his ejection from PDP Laban, Pacquiao hit the President over his actions and policies at West Philippine Sea, with the statements of the senator seen as an attempt by him to project himself as a presidential timber at the expense of Duterte.