Pacquiao deemed ‘strongest Senate bet’ by Cusi-led PDP-Laban
MANILA, Philippines — Amid the power struggle within the ruling political party, Senator Manny Pacquiao is still being considered by PDP-Laban to be its “strongest senatorial candidate” for the 2022 national elections.
PDP-Laban Secretary General Melvin Matibag said on Friday that party members may still nominate Pacquiao as standard bearer come the national party convention in September, but the leadership is already shortlisting him in its senatorial lineup.
“Senator Pacquiao can be nominated (as the party’s standard bearer for 2022) although… we are also forming the lineup of the senators and we are considering him as the strongest candidate for our senatorial line-up,” Matibag told reporters in an online interview Friday.
On Thursday, the ruling party’s national executive council endorsed the tandem of Senator Bong Go and President Rodrigo Duterte. The party council is led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi who had just recently been elected its president, and counts Matibag as member.
Matibag said an official nomination—and a vote—will happen during the party’s national convention on September 8.
Cusi’s faction remains to be at odds with Pacquiao’s group, which also includes Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, party executive vice chairman and son of PDP-Laban’s founder Aquilino Pimentel Jr.
Matibag encouraged both Pacquiao and Pimentel to attend the national convention.
The two senators have earlier dubbed the previous meetings being called by the Cusi-led faction as “unauthorized” and refused to attend the said events.
“I invite them to attend the national convention. If they want to nominate Senator Pacquiao as a candidate at that convention to be standard-bearer of the party, they may do so, everybody is welcome to do that,” Matibag said.
Aside from the president and vice presidential candidates, the September 8 convention will also be a venue for party members to nominate and select PDP-Laban’s candidates for the senatorial race as well local positions.
“Pwede pa ring ma-nominate si Senator Pacquiao or anybody who can be nominated to be our candidate para sa president at vice president kasi dun namin pipiliin lahat yung national and local candidates. Those who have intention to run, they must signify their intention so that they will go through that process,” he added.
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