Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao on Friday revealed that he will run under a provincial political party amid the escalating tension inside the ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban).
Pacquiao, who leads one of the two warring factions inside PDP Laban, filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) under Probinsya Muna Development Initiative (PROMDI) — a national political party founded by former Cebu Governor Lito Osmeña.
“We decided to file under PROMDI because of the problems in PDP,” the senator told reporters.
PROMDI Party officially nominated Pacquiao as its standard-bearer for the 2022 National Elections during a kickoff party in Cebu City on 26 September.
It is his second nomination for President after his own group inside the ruling party named him as its presidential bet a week prior.
Pacquiao, however, clarified that he is not giving up on their fight for ownership of PDP Laban saying he is only running under the other political group because of their alliance.
“No, I’m not giving up. This is an alliance between three parties. We call it MP3: PROMDI, PDP, PCM (People’s Champ Movement),” he said.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has yet to decide who truly owns PDP Laban after both camps submitted their Sworn Information Update Statement (SIUS).
Led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, the other group nominated Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and President Rodrigo Duterte as standard-bearers.
Atienza as VP
In a surprise move, the sportsman-turned-politician has chosen House Deputy Speaker and former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza as his running mate in the May 2022 polls.
Pacquiao believes that Atienza’s years in politics along with his “sincerity” and “expertise” in public service makes him a viable vice president.
“I picked Atienza because he has been serving the country for many years. I saw his sincerity, expertise and his willingness to help,” he said.
Atienza served three consecutive terms as Manila mayor from 1998 to 2007. He then became the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources from 2007 to 2009 under the Macapagal Arroyo administration.
The congressman, for his part, thanked the senator for giving him a chance and expressed optimism that Pacquiao’s experience in rising above poverty will help him in alleviating the lives of Filipinos in the event that he will become president.
“I believe that Manny Pacquaio is the only person who can change the lives of Filipinos. He can stir our lives the way he changed his life from rising above poverty,” Atienza said.
The Pacquiao-Atienza tandem is among the first aspirants to formalize their bids in the 2022 May Elections. They will support the senatorial bids of former Governor Lutgardo Barbo, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, and Senator Joel Villanueva.
In the latest pre-election survey of Pulse Asia, Pacquiao ranked fourth receiving 12 percent votes from 2,400 Filipino voters.