THE Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP- Laban) on Sunday declared Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao standard bearer for the 2022 national elections, with party chairman Sen. Koko Pimentel declaring their bid to “fight back against the hijackers,” referring to the faction of the ruling party led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
In accepting the nomination, Pacquiao said in Filipino that he dedicated “this day to our countrymen who seek real change,” adding, “With courage and humility I trust in your support. I accept your nomination” as the party’s presidential candidate.
As announced earlier by party chairman Pimentel, the party assembly will not pick a vice-presidential candidate but leave it to Pacquiao to choose his running mate.
In a national assembly held just days before a Comelec-mandated deadline for all registered parties, Pimentel said thousands of grassroots members in chapters across the regions, along with partner organizations, are determined to keep the original spirit of the party founders.
“Today we will formally fight back against the hijackers. We will not allow the party to be hijacked. We have been ignoring them but resisting them,” stressed Pimentel in his opening remarks, and likened the latecomers to the party to hitchhikers who so enjoyed the ride they are now wresting the car fromthe true owners.
Pimentel noted that, despite the sheer logistical difficulty of bringing together thousands of members while respecting health protocols, the PDP-Laban mounted the assembly, which he called a “constitutionally protected political gathering.”
Pacquiao’s nomination as PDP-Laban bet for president in the May 2022 polls was widely expected, and comes days after the Cusi wing declared its own tandem—Sen. Bong Go as president and President Duterte as his runningmate. Duterte accepted the nomination, but Go has declined.
The party gave Pacquiao a free hand in choosing his running mate. Pimentel earlier explained it was crucial to ensure the two nominees had “chemistry,” because it did not make sense to have two top leaders not on good terms.
Beside PDP-Laban members, the gathering was participated in by various regional and national organizations.