PDP-Laban Acting President Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who called on partymates to shun all forms of corruption, stressed they were not beholden to big businesses, foreign entities, nor vested interests, but only to the Filipino people.
“We are here to fight for the poor, the jobless, the homeless, the voiceless and the hopeless. This is what the PDP-Laban under Manny Pacquiao will stand for,” Pacquiao told the PDP-Laban members after accepting the invitation to lead the party.
Speaking before PDP-Laban members through a “hybrid” fellowship night at the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Pacquiao said that to achieve these goals, the PDP-Laban must heed President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for a more aggressive stance against corruption which he described as “a cancer that has tormented our government for generations.”
He said that members must lead by example by shunning all forms of corruption.
“I am very enraged with corrupt officials and also, corrupt government workers. They steal public funds intended for the government’s programs and projects which can help our people,” Paquaio said.
“The corrupt officials are our enemy. What they steal we even have as debt. It is sad that millions of our countrymen are starving, falling sick, and losing hope while billions are being stolen by some people in the government,” lamented Pacquiao.
Former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said he “passed on the practical day-to-day leadership of the party to one with new modern ideas, and one who has the time, energy, and boldness to prepare the party for the 2022 national and local elections.”
He opted to relinquish his post from the party that was founded by his father, the late Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. so he could focus working in the background to further strengthen the party and focus on helping push for Duterte’s legislative agenda.
Through Pacquiao, Pimentel who will now serve as the party’s executive vice-chairman, is confident that the PDP-Laban will continue to be the dominant party even after 2022.
After formally accepting Wednesday night the invitation for him to lead PDP-Laban, Pacquiao vowed to harness the administration’s party’s immense power and influence to fight corruption which he blames as root cause of poverty in the country.
Pacquiao promised to further strengthen the administration party while upholding PDP-Laban’s five guiding principles which are theism, authentic humanism, enlightened nationalism, democratic socialism and consultative participatory democracy.
Ron Munsayac, the party’s spokesperson, said it was still early to talk about presidential elections when pressed if the new post of the senator would signal his joining the presidential bandwagon in 2022.
“It’s too early to talk about politics and the 2022 elections. We have a pandemic to deal with and kababayans affected by consecutive calamities to help.”
“What we can expect under a Manny Pacquiao PDP-Laban led (sic) is more activities and avenues to help our kababayans in the grassroots level,” he said.
While most people see political parties as mere vehicles for campaigning, he urged the people to look differently at the party.
He said PDP-Laban was composed mostly of grassroots community leaders “so the party will provide a nationwide organization and avenues to directly reach and benefit the poorest of the poor, the voiceless and the defenseless of the nation that Pacquiao was once a oart and now a champion of (the poor).”
He said Pacquiao would bring not only more energy to the party by expanding its membership, but also more discipline, said
Munsayac said Pacquiao would inculcate in PDP-Laban members the concept of principles-based politics which included their party membership.
“He will also start educating the Party and the public about his advocacy on ‘Peace & Economics’. I have asked that I be allowed to concentrate on deepening our understanding of our ideology (5 basic principles) and deepening our ties with our existing international allies,” he said.
Meanwhile, in clarifying the designation of Pacquaio as “Acting President,” Munsayac stressed that the word “acting” was merey a technical term they use in the party.
Pursuant to the provision of the party’s constitution, they would formalize it during the national assembly which they plan to hold late next year.
Also appointed to a new leadership position in the PDP-Laban is House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco who was designated as the new Executive Vice-President replacing Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales.
At present, PDP-Laban, PDP-Laban, the party of President Rodrigo Duterte, currently has 5 senators, 58 congressmen, 43 governors, 22 vice-governors, 257 board members, 608 Mayors, 541 vice-mayors, 4,081 councilors and 100,000 grassroots community leaders.