Senator Emmanuel ‘’Manny’’ D. Pacquiao formally accepted Wednesday night the invitation for him to lead the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) as president.
The boxing icon declared his commitment that he would harness the administration’s party’s immense power and influence to fight corruption that he blames as root cause of poverty in the country.
Speaking before PDP-Laban members through a “hybrid” fellowship night at the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Pacquiao promised to further strengthen the administration party while upholding PDP-Laban’s five guiding principles which are theism, authentic humanism, enlightened nationalism, democratic socialism and consultative participatory democracy.
Pacquiao replaced former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III as PDP-Laban chief. Pimentel is now the vice chairman of PDP-Laban replacing Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Also appointed to a new leadership position in the PDP-Laban is House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco who was designated as the new Executive Vice-President replacing Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales.
“We are not beholden to big businesses, foreign entities, nor vested interests, but only to the Filipino people. We are here to fight for the poor, the jobless, the homeless, the voiceless and the hopeless. This is what the PDP-Laban under Manny Pacquiao will stand for,” Pacquiao told the PDP-Laban members.
To do this, Pacquiao said that PDP-Laban must heed President Duterte’s call for a more aggressive stance against corruption which he describes as “a cancer that has tormented our government for generations.” He said that members must lead by example by shunning all forms of corruption.
“Galit na galit ako sa mga kurap na mga opisyales pati na rin sa mga kurap na government workers. Sila ang nagnanakaw ng pera ng bayan, pera na dapat ay para sa mga programa at proyekto na makakatulong sa ating mga naghihirap na kababayan,” Paquaio said. (I hate corrupt government officials and personnel. They steal government money that should be used for programs and projects to help our poor countrymen.)
“Kalaban natin ang mga kurakot! Ang ninanakaw nila ay inuutang pa natin. Nakakalungkot na milyon-milyong mga kababayan natin ang nagugutom, nagkakasakit at nawawalan na ng pag-asa habang ang bilyon-bilyon naman ay ninanakaw ng iilan sa gobyerno,” he lamented. (Our enemy are the corrupt. They steal the money that we borrowed. It is sad that millions of our countrymen are hungry, sick and are losing hope while billions of pesos are being stolen.)
Pimentel said he “passed on the practical day-to-day leadership of the party to one with new modern ideas, and one who has the time, energy, and boldness to prepare the party for the 2022 national and local elections.”
He added that he decided to relinquish his post from the party that was founded by his father, the late Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Sr. so that he could focus working in the background to further strengthen the party and focus on helping push for President Duterte’s legislative agenda.
Pimentel said that through Pacquiao, he is confident that the PDP-Laban would continue to be the dominant party even after 2022.
Apart from leading PDP-Laban in the frontline to fight corruption, Pacquiao said that the administration party would also focus on pushing for peace and economic development and help craft a “long-term goals for our country.”
At present, PDP-Laban has five senators, 58 congressmen, 43 governors, 22 vice-governors, 257 board members, 608 Mayors, 541 Vice-Mayors, 4,081 councilors and 100,000 grassroots community leaders.