MANILA, Philippines — Senator Manny Pacquiao is the presidential candidate for the 2022 national elections of the PDP-Laban wing which is led by him and Senator Koko Pimentel.
Pacquiao was declared as the presidential candidate of PDP-Laban during the national assembly of his wing on Sunday held in Libis, Quezon City.
The national assembly was held nearly two weeks after the PDP-Laban wing headed by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi named Senator Bong Go and President Rodrigo Duterte as their group’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates, respectively.
“Exciting ito dahil malaki ang posibilidad na mananalo tayo sa darating na halalan at ang tunay na PDP-Laban ang magpapatakbo ng ating gobyerno,” Pimentel said at the start of the event.
In accepting his nomination, Pacquiao said the people are already tired of unfulfilled promises so he is “rising up to the challenge of leadership” so that he can bring real reforms that would uplift the lives of Filipinos, especially the poor.
“Buong puso, buong tapang, at kababaang loob ay umaasa po ako sa inyong suporta, may dalangin ng gabay sa panginoon, tinatanggap ko po ang inyong nominasyon bilang kandidato ng pagkapangulo ng Pilipinas,” Pacquiao said in accepting his nomination.
Speaking before thousands of card-bearing and long-time members and officials of the PDP-Laban, Pacquiao said that he decided to accept the PDP-Laban’s nomination to fulfill the people’s aspiration for true government reforms, honest and transparent governance, and genuine public service.
Pacquiao also lashed out on what he describes as attempts to destroy the PDP-Laban by some people with selfish interests and promised that he will not back down to fight all attempts to bring him down.
“ I am a fighter and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring. Sa buong buhay ko wala akong laban na inatrasan. Dahil sa ngalan ng prinsipyo, karangalan ng bayan ay tumatayo ako, naninindigan at nakikipaglaban,” Pacquiao said in accepting his nomination.
“Dito mismo sa loob ng sarili kong Partido, ang PDP Laban na aking tinanggap, kinalinga at ipinagtanggol, ay pilit akong binubuwag ng ilan sa ngalan ng pansariling interes at politika,” he added.
The “hybrid” assembly was attended physically by select key officials and through zoom in hundreds of chapter locations nationwide.
PDP-Laban Spokesman and Executive Director Ron Munsayac said the party secretariat had to create 10 Zoom accounts just to accommodate participants coming from 14 PDP-Laban national councils and 78 chapters nationwide.
In the same assembly, the party also issued a resolution “to ignore and disregard and all resolutions and actions” of the group of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and National Transmission Corporation President Melvin Matibag.
The party members also elected their new set of officers for the national council.
In his speech, Pacquiao vowed to fight corruption and he would send every single corrupt government official in jail.
“Sa mga nanunungkulan sa ating pamahalaan na patuloy na nagsasamantala at nagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan,… malapit na kayong magsama-sama sa kulungan,” Pacquiao said.
“Your time is up!Binigyan namin kayo ng pagkakataon, nguni’t kami ay inyong binigo. Naghintay po kami ng mahabang panahon, ilang dekada na ang lumipas…pero wala ding nangyari,” he added.
Apart from taking a hardline campaign against corruption, Pacquiao also vowed to “serve our people with integrity, compassion, and transparency.”
The national assembly of Pacquiao’s camp was held amid the infighting within the PDP-Laban—one group led by the senator and another led by Cusi. Both camps are insisting that the other group—and the events being conducted by the other wing—are illegitimate.
Amid the infighting, however, one question remains: Which is the “legitimate” PDP-Laban.
This shall be resolved by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). To recall, Cusi’s camp earlier asked the Comelec to declare as illegitimate the Pacquiao-Pimentel wing of the party.
In response to the petition filed by Cusi’s camp, the Pacquiao wing insisted that its group is recognized by the grassroots members and senior leaders of the party.