1Sambayan open to Pacquiao, if he submits to process
Opposition coalition 1Sambayan on Thursday said it would welcome a possible nomination of Sen. Manny Pacquiao as its 2022 candidate and admitted that the group could benefit from the infighting within the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
“If Sen. Manny Pacquiao has friends who would nominate him to 1Sambayan, welcome,” said Jesuit priest Albert Alejo, one of the conveners of the coalition, in an online forum.
“If someone nominates him, we will ask if he is willing to submit to the process. If he agrees, there will be interviews and criteria. So let’s see,” Alejo said after retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, another convener of the group, criticized Pacquiao for his absences during congressional sessions.
“As congressman, Pacquiao was the No. 1 absentee, he was the topnotcher in absences in Congress. As senator, he again topped, he was No. 1 in absences,” Carpio said in a television interview in March.
Carpio also said earlier that Pacquiao was not being considered as their presidential candidate because of the senator’s perceived closeness to President Duterte.
But Pacquiao has changed since and has been severely critical of the President, particularly after the Duterte camp floated the possibility of fielding Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for president with Mr. Duterte as her possible running mate.
The Davao City mayor is married to lawyer Manases Carpio, a son of lawyer Lucas Carpio Jr., a cousin of the retired associate justice.
The subsequent verbal spat between the President and the senator has been fueling infighting in the ruling PDP-Laban that threatens to further diminish the minority plurality that elected Rodrigo Duterte President in 2016.
Carpio admitted that the infighting within PDD-Laban could boost the fighting chance of opposition candidates, adding that political rivalry among aspirants is “normal in an election at this stage.”
The former magistrate said those eyeing to run in next year’s polls might only declare their decisions by September out of fear of attacks from President Duterte’s internet “trolls.”
“If they come out now, the trolls of Duterte will pound on them, so they will probably make their decision sometime in September or late September just before the filing of the certificates of candidacy,” Carpio said.
Carpio was also unfazed by early surveys claiming that Mr. Duterte and his daughter lead the list of possible presidential and vice presidential candidates.
“Well, if you look at the surveys in the past presidential elections since the time of President (Fidel) Ramos, all those leading in the surveys at this time lost, never won. So, the surveys now do not reflect the actual result of the election,” he said.
“The real surveys that will be reflective of the election will be sometime in March because everything is fluid. Everyone who led the surveys at this time of the year lost,” Carpio added.
Lawyer Howard Calleja, also one of the conveners, agreed with Carpio saying the surveys do not discourage them and that “we are very much in the running.”
Carpio said 1Sambayan had not closed its nomination for President and the Vice President even after it already came out with a list of their bets on June 12.
“We have not closed our nominations, so anyone can come in or come back,” he said, adding that Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, who previously asked 1Sambayan to remove his name from its possible choices, “can come back if he wants to.”
Carpio also said the coalition continued to hold discussions with Sen. Ralph Recto, the husband of Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, who declined 1Sambayan’s nomination last month.
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