Pacquiao, Atienza: We won’t compromise, we’ll continue this fight
MANILA, Philippines — There is no backing out from the race for the tandem of Senator Manny Pacquiao and Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza, as both rejected again calls for unity among 2022 candidates to stymie another Marcos presidency.
On Friday, Atienza revealed that he was approached by representatives of presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo to propose unity among rivals.
“Yes, na-approach na ako. Hindi ko naman pwedeng sabihin na hindi ako in-approach. Mayroong nag-approach sa akin. Si Leni [Robredo]. Not herself personally but her official representatives. Pero hindi katanggap tanggap kay Manny [Pacquiao],” he said in the weekly Pandesal Forum.
(Yes, I was approached. I cannot say that I wasn’t. Someone did approach me. It’s Leni. Not her personally but her official representatives. But it was unacceptable to Manny.)
“Oo, dahil naghahanap din talaga sila ng parang reshuffling eh. I tried delivering the message. Sabi ni Manny, ‘matalo tayo kung matalo pero ayoko namang manalo dahil sa negosyasyon’,” Atienza added when asked if the meeting was held only recently.
(Yes, it was recent. Because they are looking for some reshuffling. I tried delivering the message but Manny said ‘if we lose, then we lose. I don’t want to win through negotiations.’)
For his part, Pacquiao said he and Atienza refused to make a compromise and decided to continue their fight in this year’s elections.
“Ang desisyon kasi namin ni Vice Lito ay tuloy ang laban. Para ito sa bayan, hindi ito para sa sarili namin. Wala kaming halong vested interest dito para sa sarili namin. Sayang ito ‘pag pinalampas natin itong pagkakataon na ito dahil ito ay para sa taumbayan din,” he said in a separate press briefing.
(We decided to continue the fight. This is for the country, it’s not for ourselves. We don’t have any vested interest in this. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste.)
Pacquiao echoed Atienza’s earlier sentiments that none of them, especially the party-list lawmaker, would be withdrawing from the 2022 political contest if no one else would quit, too.
“Willing din naman siya [Atienza] kung sakali pero hangga’t walang galawan, ay tuloy ‘yung laban namin,” he said.
(He’s willing but if no one backs out, too, we will continue our fight.)
Atienza earlier called on presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson to give up his presidential bid so that Pacquiao and vice presidential bet Senate President Vicente Sotto III could form a tandem. Sotto is Lacson’s running mate.
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