Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Sunday formally declared his intention to run for president in the 2022 elections as he accepted the nomination of his partymates in PDP-Laban.
Pacquiao was officially nominated as his party's standard bearer during their own national assembly this afternoon, refusing to recognize a similar event organized by PDP-Laban members pushing for the vice presidential bid of President Rodrigo Duterte last Sept. 8.
“We need progress, we need to win against poverty. We need a government to serve our people with integrity, compassion and transparency.... The time is now. We are ready to rise to the challenge of leadership,” Pacquiao said as he accepted the party’s nomination.
“Tinatanggap ko ang inyong nominasyon sa akin bilang kandidato sa pagkapangulo ng Republika ng Pilipinas,” he added.
Pacquiao's partymates also gave him the authority to choose his vice presidential running mate and complete their senatorial slate for the 2022 elections. Former Eastern Samar Gov. Lutgardo Barbo accepted his nomination to be one of their senatorial candidates.
Reports that Pacquiao would seek the presidency in the 2022 elections surfaced as early as December 2020, when he was installed as acting president of PDP-Laban, replacing Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.
Some of his partymates, however, did not favor his comments on the government's handling of the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea. The senator's remarks also earned the ire of Duterte, who accused Pacquiao of having "very shallow knowledge" of the issue.
The disagreements between Pacquiao and Duterte resulted in the senator being removed as acting PDP-Laban president by the group led by Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, who was then elected in his place.
Pacquiao's camp refused to recognize his removal as party president as they maintained that they are the natural continuation of PDP-Laban. Pimentel's father, former Sen. Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr., was the founder of the party.
As the Cusi camp elected its own officials, Pacquiao's group also installed its own leaders, with Pimentel being named its new chairman replacing Duterte. The Cusi camp then brought its case before the Commission on Elections urging the body to declare the Pacquiao faction "illegitimate."
The Cusi camp recently nominated Sen. Bong Go as its presidential candidate for the 2022 elections, with Duterte as vice president. While the 76-year-old leader accepted the endorsement, the senator repeatedly declined the nomination.
The Comelec is expected to tackle the dispute between the two PDP-Laban factions ahead of the 2022 elections.