Malacañang is not bothered by Senator Manny Pacquiao’s decision to run for president in the 2022 elections, saying it is the renowned boxer’s right to seek the highest position in government.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Pacquiao’s faction of the embattled party PDP-Laban nominated the latter as its candidate for president in the 2022 polls.
In his press briefing on Monday, September 20, Roque said the Palace had no specific reaction to the development in President Duterte’s party.
“Wala po, karapatan niyang (Pacquiao) tumakbo sa eleksyon (We have no reaction. It’s his right to run in the elections),” he said.
However, Roque noted that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has yet to decide which PDP-Laban faction should carry the party’s name during the polls.
“Hindi ko lang po alam kung ano magiging desisyon ng Comelec kung sino talaga ang pwedeng magdadala ng pangalan ng PDP-Laban (I just don’t know what the Comelec’s decision will be about who should carry the name of PDP-Laban),” he said.
The PDP-Laban has two warring factions namely that of Pacquiao’s and Senator Koko Pimentel, and that of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
The Cusi faction has nominated President Duterte as their candidate for vice president in next year’s polls while they named Duterte’s long-time ally Senator Bong Go as their candidate for president.
Duterte has accepted the nomination to run for vice president and has announced his intention to run in the polls, citing his love of country as one of the reasons. Go, on the other hand, insists that he is not interested.
PDP-Laban Executive Vice President Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles had said that the Cusi faction continues to hope that Go will change his mind and will file his certificate of candidacy by October 8. This is similar to how President Duterte suddenly decided to run for president in 2016 despite months of playing coy and saying he will not run.
In June this year, Duterte warned Pacquiao that he will “expose him as a liar” and will campaign against him if he cannot substantiate his claims that the current administration is three times more corrupt than its predecessor.