Sen. Manny Pacquiao said Thursday he enjoyed the support of the PDP-Laban Party despite his public disagreements with President Rodrigo Duterte on corruption and the West Philippine Sea.
Pacquiao is acting president of PDP Laban where Duterte serves as chairman. The boxer-turned-lawmaker said 10,000 members expressed their support for him in writing.
"Sila mismo ang nagpirma at nag-commend sa aking trabaho as president of PDP. Suportado nila ako," Pacquiao told Teleradyo.
When asked if he had enough numbers to stay as PDP-Laban acting president, Pacquiao said he could even get at least 50,000 signatures or half of the party's membership. "That's reality. I have the data, I have the by-laws, I have the documents of the party."
PDP-Laban is set to hold its national assembly on July 17 to be led by the party vice chair Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi. Although it was not part of the meeting's agenda to "oust" Pacquiao as acting PDP-Laban president, Cusi said an election could take place.
Pacquiao's camp said the senator would not be attending the national assembly as the party's leadership, grassroots membership, and old guards view it as an "unauthorized" activity.
The senator also told Cusi to follow the rules of the party, or else he should leave.
"I am the president of the party and you must follow the rules and values of the party. Kung ayaw mo edi lumipat ka sa ibang partido. If you don’t want to follow the protocol and values of the party then go ahead," he said.
Earlier this week, Duterte called out Pacquiao for pointing to an alleged corruption in the government and dared him to prove it, otherwise the President would expose the senator as a "liar."
Pacquiao accepted Duterte's challenge and called for a probe on the Department of Health as a starting point. He also thanked the President for giving him the chance to take part in the government's campaign against corruption.