Roxas camp working on Pacquiao to leave Binay, UNA
The camp of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is trying to woo the boxing icon, Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, to leave the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay and join the Liberal Party (LP) as a senatorial candidate in the 2016 elections.
Yacap Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez, a friend of Pacquiao and a Roxas supporter, said the boxer seemed receptive to the offer but was “keeping his options open.”
“We’re hoping he makes the right decision,” she told reporters.
Lopez is a member of the minority in the House of Representatives but has actively supported the presumed candidacy of Roxas under the LP.
She said Pacquiao seemed to still be weighing a lot of things “about where he wants to go in life.”
“It is his decision. We just want to make sure we did not miss out on inviting him,” Lopez said.
If Pacquiao agrees, he will be part of the LP senatorial slate, she said.
At 36, he is still too young to run for Vice President, open only to those at the age of 40.
But Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, who is closely identified with Pacquiao, said he saw no way the boxer would leave UNA for the LP.
He told a news forum that he did not see Pacquiao as a “balimbing,” or turncoat. Atienza plans to run for senator under the UNA banner.
Pacquiao, a member of the majority coalition, is an underperformer at the House and is one of its top absentees. In the 16th Congress, he has sponsored or authored 15 bills or resolutions, five of which are related to sports or boxing, while four are local bills.
He attended the formal launch of Binay’s UNA party on July 1.
Pacquiao said then that he was still in the process of deciding whether to run for senator.
Asked if he would campaign for Binay, Pacquiao had been evasive: “That depends. We have not talked about that. I am here to support the party declarations.”
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