MANILA, Aug 6 (Mabuhay) —

Senator Manny Pacquiao can still be nominated as PDP-Laban’s standard bearer during the ruling party’s national convention on September 8, PDP-Laban secretary-general Atty. Melvin Matibag said Friday.

“Ako ang encouragement ko lang, again, I invite them to attend the national convention [I will reiterate my encouragement for them to attend the national convention]. If they want to nominate Senator Pacquiao as a candidate on that convention to be standard-bearer of the party, they may do so, everybody is welcome to do that,” Matibag said in a virtual press conference.

“Because during that national convention, pipiliin yung presidente [we will choose who will run for president], vice president, even senators, and we consider Senator Pacquiao as one of our top candidate for senatorial line-up for PDP-Laban,” he added.

On Thursday night, PDP-Laban officials confirmed that Senator Bong Go and President Rodrigo Duterte have been nominated as their presidential and vice presidential bets, respectively, for the upcoming polls.

Go, however, reiterated that he will only run for president if Duterte decides to gun for the vice presidency.

The PDP-Laban officials made the nomination despite reports that Pacquiao will also vie for the country’s top post.

Asked why PDP-Laban officials chose Go, who has repeatedly said he is not interested to run for president, over Pacquiao, who is willing, Matibag said Go is a more winnable candidate.

“That one who is not interested is the one who is winnable and competent to be the president and the running mate of PRRD,” he said.

Ang sabi ko nga that is our personal preference at choice namin e. So bakit kami pipili ng hindi namin gusto at tingin namin na hindi madadala yung partido sa May 2022 elections? We are looking at logical and popular choice of the party members, then we are looking at the competence and the winability of the candidate,” he added.

(That is our personal preference and choice. Why are we going to choose someone that we dislike and someone who cannot carry the party in the May 2022 elections? We are looking at logical and popular choice of the party members, then we are looking at the competence and the winnability of the candidate.)

Moreover, Matibag refused to admit that there is a faction in the ruling party, asserting that the official group of PDP-Laban are the ones who elected the new set of officers last July 17.

On Thursday, the faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi formally submitted the names of the party’s newly-elected officers to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The PDP-Laban also handed its Sworn Information Update Statement (SIUS) in compliance with the Comelec Resolution 10411.

“We have submitted our SIUS to the Comelec…if they will challenge it, they have every right to challenge it, but at the end of the day, babalik tayo, sino ba yung sumunod sa constitution, ano ba yung prosesong ginawa  (we will go back to the previous events to find out who followed the constitution and the procedures) and we are confident that we followed the process,” Matibag said.

The PDP-Laban secretary general maintained that the party’s recent activities, including the election of a new set of officers are valid and can be recognized by Comelec.

“’Yung submission po namin sa Comelec, nakapirma na po dito ang bagong president ng partido, si Secretary Cusi at ang chairman ng partido na si Pangulong Duterte,” he said.

“So nakikita na po natin, any lawyer or anyone who understands the electoral procedure ay sasabihin naman talaga ‘ay ito talaga yung lehitimong opisyales ng PDP-Laban,’” he added.

The election of the new set of PDP-Laban officers was not acknowledged by the faction led by Pacquiao and Senator Aquilino Pimentel III. (MNS)

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