Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III on Monday, June 21 said he thinks boxing icon Senator Emmanuel D. Pacquiao would be voted next month as permanent president of the ruling PDP-Laban party whose leaders are at a collision course.
Sotto issued the statement before Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles of PDP-Laban stated that said Pacquiao could be ousted as party acting president when party National Council meets next month.
“If you go by party rules, if we need to ratify officials who are in acting position then yes [it is possible]. It has to pass through the body. If that is not ratified, somebody else has to get elected. These matters will be discussed in the National Council meeting in July,’’ Nograles added when asked of a possibility of Pacquiao being ousted as PDP-Laban leader.
But Sotto, chairman of the Nationalist People’s Coaliton (NPC), said that ‘’if he (Pacquiao) wants to join the NPC, we will cross the bridge when we get there.’’
‘’But of course, he (Pacquiao) is welcome,’’ he added.
He explained that the NPC is in alliance win President Duterte.
Sotto said he is optimistic that Pacquiao would be voted as President because his faction outnumbers the Cusi faction.
Moreover, the Pacquiao camp is being backed by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, former PDP-Laban president. Pimentel is the party executive vice chairman.
Pimentel’s father, the late Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., is founder of PDP-Laban, Sotto pointed out.
‘’Di basta basta lilipat yun. di malayo makipag alliance sa ibang partido, di coalition, malamang alliance pwedeng mangyari yun (Pacquiao would not easily leave his party but would most likely ally himself with another party,’’ he explained.
The Pacquiao camp had said that the May 31 National Council meeting of PDP-Laban in Cebu called by President Duterte, party chairman, through Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, PDP-Laban vice chairman, was illegal.
Again, the Pacquiao camp questioned the legality of the scheduled July 17 PDP-Laban National Council.
The Pacquiao maintained that, based on party bylaws and Constitution, the calling of a PDP-Laban National Council should be called jointly by its chairman and president.
Sotto had said he might run for the vice presidency if his presidential candidate is Senator Panfilo M. Lacson.
In the past, NPC had alliances but not coalitions, he explained.
‘’We will consult our members,’’ Sotto said on the issue of the alliances.