Pacquiao eyes PDP-Laban unification, wants Cusi removed

Pacquiao eyes PDP-Laban unification, wants Cusi removed
© REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez Senator and newly retired boxing icon Manny Pacquiao waves to his supporters as he arrives at Sofitel Hotel to file his certificate of candidacy for president, in Pasay City, October 1, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Senator Manny Pacquaio on Thursday said he would welcome unification talks with the other faction of the ruling PDP-Laban on the condition that its leader Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi would be removed.

“Si Cusi tatanggalin natin siya kasi nadadamay ang iba,” Pacquiao said at a press conference in his hometown General Santos City.

“May problema tayo sa energy pero puro siya pulitika. Maghanap ka ng paraan para masolusyon sana ang mga problema at mapababa ang presyo ng kuryente hindi iyong puro ka pulitika,” he added.

[Let’s remove Cusi because others are getting involved. We have problems in the energy sector, yet all he does is about politics. Cusi should find ways to solve the problems and to lower the electricity rate instead of focusing solely on politics.]

“What I want is to unite the PDP. Hindi dapat kami magkakaiba ng adbokasiya (We should not have different advocacies),” he added.

Pacquiao and his allies in the faction that he leads have come up with a resolution expelling Cusi, PDP-Laban deputy secretary-general Melvin Matibag, and PDP-Laban membership committee head Astra Naik over alleged violations of the party’s by-laws and constitution by “showing allegiance to a political party apart from PDP Laban.”

In response, Matibag said Pacquiao should instead focus on his candidacy for Eleksyon 2022 rather than keeping an eye on Cusi.

“Senator Pacquiao must focus on the strength of his candidacy than trying to pick a fight with a non-candidate,” Matibag said.

“Secretary Cusi remains as the President of the PDP Laban. He was placed there in an election presided and witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte as Chairman of the Party,” he added.

“The statement of Senator Pacquiao is clearly misplaced and not properly thought out,” Matibag said.

Duterte has recognized Cusi’s leadership despite the latter’s ouster by party members Pacquiao led.

Asked if he would reconcile with Duterte despite the outcome of the upcoming May 9, 2022 elections, Pacquaio reiterated that they were in good terms.

“Hindi kami magkaaway. Hindi masama ang loob ko sa kanya. Hindi ako galit sa kanya,” Pacquiao said.

“Galit ako sa mga kawatan. Sa corruption ako galit kasi dahil diyan nagihirap ang ating bansa. Nasa puso ko ang maiahon ang ating bansa sa kahirapan,” he added.

[We are not enemies. I don’t have anything against him. I’m not angry with him but with corrupt individuals. I hate corruption because this causes the country’s suffering. It is in my heart to lift our country out of poverty.]

Duterte and his longtime aide Senator Bong Go met with Pacquiao on November 9 in Malacañang.

The President criticized Pacquiao several times after the senator criticized the his stance on the West Philippine Sea issue.

Duterte was also provoked by Pacquiao’s claim that corruption has worsened under the current administration, which prompted him to challenge Pacquiao to name corrupt officials in the government. -NB, GMA News

This article Pacquiao eyes PDP-Laban unification, wants Cusi removed was originally published in GMA News Online.

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