A FACTION of the ruling PDP-Laban has dropped Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao from its senatorial slate for the 2022 elections, according to a party official.
The boxing champion had not only closed the door to the party but also “burned the bridges,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, the faction’s president, told an online news briefing on Tuesday.
Last month, the faction endorsed President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s vice presidential bid and a potential presidential run by his long-time aide, Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go.
The Cusi wing is set to hold a national convention in Pampanga on Sept. 8 to announce its potential bets for 2022 amid a coronavirus pandemic.
“The event will not be a super spreader event,” party spokesman and Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya told the same briefing.
“We are doubling all of our protocols, not just the ones enforced by the Inter-Agency Task Force but also the Presidential Security Group, which is securing the President, to make sure that all regulations are fully complied with,” he added.
Melvin Matibag, the Cusi faction’s secretary general, said they have asked the Commission on Elections to declare the faction led by the boxing champion and Senator Aquilino Martin L. Pimentel III illegitimate.
Political analysts have said that the Mindanao support for the Dutertes would be split if Mr. Pacquiao goes ahead with his presidential ambition.
The boxing champ, who has criticized Mr. Duterte’s handling of the sea dispute with China and his anti-corruption drive, is said to be seeking the presidency.
Earlier this week, Vice-President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo said she was open to supporting a tandem between Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso III and the boxing champ just to end the current brand of governance.
On Tuesday, she said she was still open to run for President next year, adding that she had not endorsed any candidates.
“My only point is that the goal of everyone who believes in a humane and proper rule is clear: change the current system,” she said in a statement in Filipino.
Ms. Robredo has said she was willing to listen to the proposals of various factions critical of the administration. She also cited the need to form a coalition to defeat administration bets. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza