(UPDATE) Senator Manny Pacquiao will spring a "last surprise" before the deadline for candidate substitution, according to an ally of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who earlier said the President's daughter would run to succeed him.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda made the statement the morning after Pacquiao met with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang, ending months of bickering. Salceda did not say if Pacquiao was likely to drop his presidential bid for Duterte-Carpio.
"Let Manny Pacquiao announce it, not me. In the next three days, that's the last surprise," Salceda told ONE News.
"What Manny Pacquiao will do is the last surprise and I think Sara filing for presidency will be no surprise."
Duterte-Carpio withdrew her reelection bid for Davao City mayor, reigniting calls for her to run to succeed her father. Salceda said Duterte-Carpio would run for president and that had long been her intention.
The President's daughter had not commented on Salceda's pronouncements.
Pacquiao's meeting with Duterte could be a sign the two factions are reuniting, Salceda said.
"As far as I know, Bato naman kasi kaibigan ko, she has already given structure to prepare for the withdrawal," said Salceda.
Pacquiao, however, clarified that he was not changing his mind about running for president even after his meeting with Duterte, which he said was arranged by common friends.
"It wasn’t a political meeting but it provided us an opportunity to talk about our shared vision for Mindanao," he said in a statement on Thursday.
"Hindi nagbabago ang paninindigan ko sa pagtakbo bilang Pangulo. Ipakulong ang mga kawatan at iangat ang buhay ng mga mahihirap nating kababayan. Hindi ako trapo mag-isip. Ang panalo ko ang magpapanalo sa buhay ng bawat Pilipino," he added.
The standard-bearer of Duterte's PDP-Laban party, Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, earlier said that he was open to being substituted by Duterte-Carpio.
"On the side of Manny Pacquiao, it remains to be seen what will be the terms of endearment or engagement that will be forged."
Salceda also said "apparently Lakas is the most prepared to offer its placeholder for Sara Duterte."
Lakas-CMD, party of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, earlier said two of its members who registered as presidential and vice presidential candidates can be substituted. Party president House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said Lakas-CMD was ready to back Duterte-Carpio should she decide to run for higher office.