Opposition coalition 1Sambayan lead convenor Antonio Carpio on Thursday, July 15, admitted that the opposition will stand to gain from the current infighting happening within the ranks of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
The ruling party is divided into two: the faction led by President Duterte, its chairman, and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, its vice chair, and the group led by Senators Manny Pacquiao and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
Fr. Albert Alejo, one of the convenors, said that the coalition is open to talk with Pacquiao if someone from 1Sambayan will nominate him and the boxer—senator is willing to submit himself to the process.
Asked if the opposition’s chances in the May 2022 polls will get a boost because of the internal squabble in the administration party, Carpio, a retired Supreme Court senior associate justice, answered in the affirmative.
“Well, of course, if the administration candidates are fighting each other and there will be many of them running, it will help us,” he said.
However, Carpio also said that such fighting “is normal in an election at this stage.”
“At this stage, there is a lot of maneuvering and we may able to unify or not, we don’t know,” Carpio added.
PDP-Laban is scheduled to hold an assembly on July 17 with Duterte presiding over the meeting that Pimentel does not want to attend because he and Pacquiao supposedly don’t recognize it.
Pimentel called on his partymates to ignore the assembly as they have already expelled Cusi and other party members who are part of that faction.
There are also reports that Pimentel and Pacquiao are going to be kicked out of the party, which got divided over Cusi’s push for Duterte to run as vice president and for his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, to run as president.
Pacquiao wants to run as president, too, with Pimentel as one of his backers.
“Sabi nga ni Justice Carpio kanina hindi pa naman tapos iyong nomination so kung meron magnonominate tatanungin natin siya, willing ka ba sumama dito sa proseso? Kung willing ma-interview, masasama sa mga criteria. Tingnan natin (Like what Justice Carpio said, the nomination is not done so if someone will be nominated, we will ask him, are you willing to join the process? If you are willing to be interviewed, be included in the criteria. We will see),” he explained.
Pacquiao wasn’t included in the coalition’s initial list of nominees for president and vice president because he has been vocal about his support for Duterte’s policies.
1Sambayan’s initial list of nominees included Vice President Leni Robredo, former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Senator Grace Poe, Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, and House deputy speaker and CIBAC party-list Rep. Bro. Eddie Villanueva.