Malacañang said Senator Manny Pacquiao is free to seek the presidency in next year’s elections, but not under the ruling party PDP-Laban which is led by its chairman, President Rodrigo Duterte.
“It is his right to seek public office. But I do not know what the decision of the Comelec will be, if he will be allowed to run under PDP-Laban in the elections,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
Roque issued the statement a day after the former boxing champ turned politician announced his presidential bid during the national assembly of the PDP wing led by Pacquiao and Senator Aquilino Pimentel III.
The PDP-Laban faction headed by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier asked the Comelec to declare the Pimentel faction as an illegitimate political party.
The party’s secretary-general, Melvin Matibag, said the declaration of Pacquiao as standard bearer of the other faction was illegal.
“They can declare his candidacy for presidency but they shouldn’t use the PDP-Laban since it’s illegal,” Matibag said.
He said the legitimate national convention was the one held on Sept. 8 where Sen. Bong Go and Duterte were endorsed as the party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Go rejected the nomination but Duterte accepted.
Pimentel, for his part, accused Matibag of peddling “bluff news.”
Meanwhile, the Cusi wing said it has not initiated negotiations for a possible alliance with former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“Personally, I can tell there is no official negotiation,” Matibag said,
“We are looking at a Go-Duterte tandem for 2022,” he added.