Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao denied that the Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) is calling on President Duterte to run for vice president in 2022.
Pacquiao, acting PDP-Laban president, said in a presser on Friday, March 12, that the reported resolution on the appeal was not sanctioned by the administration party, reiterating their position to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting the government’s vaccination program.
“Gusto lang namin linawan na ang partido ay sumasang-ayon kami sa sa panawagan ng ating Pangulo na huwag munang pulitika ang pag-usapan kung ‘di ang pagtulong sa mga kababayan natin…especially ‘yong usaping vaccination sa ating bansa. Iyan na muna ang atupagin natin (We just wanted to clarify that tha party agrees with the appeal of the President that we should not talk about politics now and that we should focus on helping our countrymen, especially on the vaccination in our country. We should first work on that),” said the senator.
He was joined by his colleague Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, former PDP-Laban president and current executive vice chairman, and other officials of the party during the briefing.
“Huwag munang pulitika ngayon (Let’s not talk about politics now),” Pacquiao told his partymates.
Pacquiao said they learned that some members of PDP-Laban have been going around the country in connection with the May, 2022 national and local elections. He said did not authorize it.
He later warned Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who was reportedly consulting PDP-Laban members about the resolution, against “dividing” the party’s members in tackling politics.
“‘Yong salita mo panindigan mo, na sabi mo huwag munang pulitika, tulong muna sa tao. Huwag mong dinidivide ‘yong isipan ng mga myembro ng partido para gamitin mo sa sarili mong interes (You should keep your word, that you said we should not talk about politics and help people first. Don’t divide our members for your personal interest),” Pacquiao told Cusi.
“Unless kung umiikot ka para magbigay ng tulong sa mga kababayan, palakpakan kita, matutuwa ako. Pero kung umiikot ka, pulitika ang pinag-uuspan mo, huwag mong lasunin ang utak ng myembro ng partido (Unless you are going around the country to help our people, then I will applaud you, I will be happy. But if you are roaming to talk about politics, don’t influence the members of the party),” he added.
Despite this, the PDP-Laban maintained there is no in-fighting among its members.
“Don’t characterize it as in-fighting. There is no in-fighting. That’s why the president, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, is reminding the members of the focus. There will be a time for politics, let’s just wait for it,” Pimentel said in mixed English and Filipino.
“Let’s listen to the directive of our acting president. Focus on helping our people. And if some are capable or going around the country at this time, might as well bring assistance,” he said.
On Thursday, Duterte himself that his right-hand man, Sen Christopher “Bong” Go, wants to be his successor in Malacañang.
Go, also a PDP-Laban member, distanced from such statements, insisting he is not interested to run for higher office.
But in his statement Friday, Go said he might change his mind if Duterte heeds the call for him to run in the vice presidential race.
Pacquiao refused to comment on Duterte’s remarks on Go when asked in the media briefing.