By Amado Inigo
MANILA — First it was President Duterte who lambasted Senator Manny Pacquiao after the latter accused his administration of corruption and as if it was not enough, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi took his turn Tuesday by claiming the multi-titled boxing lawmaker “not only burned bridges but razed the ruling political party PDP-Laban house down.”
It may be recalled that President Duterte lambasted Sen. Manny Pacquiao during his weekly presidential address on Monday (June 28) after the latter accused his administration as “more corrupt than previous ones.”
Pacquiao is the acting president of PDP-Laban while PRRD is chairperson of the ruling political party.
Nevertheless, President Duterte proceeded in challenging Pacquiao “to name the corrupt offices” and officials otherwise, the President added, “I will campaign against you” in the 2022 national elections.
Only recently, Duterte also belittled Pacquiao on his stand on the West Philippine Sea saying the lawmaker from GenSan needs to “study deeper” before giving statements to the media.
The growing rift between the acting president and the chairman is expected to drive a wedge deep down further that could divide the party even before the filing of candidacy comes around. It is slated from October 1-8, 2021.
Cusi, the PDP-Laban vice chairman, admitted to ANC’s Karen Davila during his interview Tuesday, the apparent rift between the two is “really unfortunate that the acting president of the party is accusing the chairman, who is the president of the country, of those things. Di po naman siguro tama yun na sarili mong bahay susunugin mo.”
The Energy chief further stressed that “If Manny Pacquiao is already attacking the president, I would say he is not supporting the president.”
Pacquiao has an upcoming mega fight on August 21, 2021 and is all set to fly to the United States within the week to begin training for his fight against Errol Spence.
This means that he will not be around and may have to skip their party’s scheduled convention on July 17, 2021 at a yet-to-be-announced venue.
On the same date, it is anticipated by many political analysts the party may have to declare Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte standard bearer for the party in the 2022 national elections.
The camp of Sen. Manny Pacquiao has yet to issue an official statement on this matter even as some quarters aver the lawmaker is now solidly decided of throwing his hat into the presidential derby with Senate President Tito Sotto as running-mate in ‘22.
During the same interview, Cusi also made mention of the possibility of a Bong Go-Rodrigo Duterte tandem for the upcoming elections and Duterte had said he is open to running for vice president by safely stating it this way: “if there is still space for me.”
Before ending his interview Cusi hinted that it is all up to the boxing senator Pacquiao who may have nothing to fear or be afraid of with a massive support from the grassroot.
“Then he has nothing to be afraid of if he has the grassroots support,” said Cusi in ending his interview. (ai/mtvn)