A faction of President Rodrigo Duterte's PDP Laban that convinced him to run for vice president on Thursday offered Sen. Manny Pacquiao to run for senator instead.
The head of the faction, Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, formally invited Pacquiao to run for senator, said PDP-Laban secretary general Melvin Matibag.
Duterte's possible vice presidential candidacy, with Sen. Bong Go as a possible presidential candidate, shut the door for a higher post in 2022 for Pacquiao, who lost his most recent boxing match in Las Vegas.
"I hope that Sen. Manny Pacquiao will consider it. He is not actually abandoning his dream of becoming president but merely delaying it, and in the process gained more experience and competence in the intricacies of governance and leadership," Matibag told reporters in a video call.
Pacquiao has not responded, Matibag said,
"I know he's a God-fearing man, he is honest, he will pray. Makapag-usap lang [kami], marinig, kaya binubuksan namin yung pintuan ng pakikipag-usap kay Sen. Manny Pacquiao," he added.
Apart from Pacquiao, among the PDP-Laban's initial senatorial bets for 2022 are House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, DICT Sec. Gringo Honasan, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade, and DPWH Sec. Mark Villar.
The Pacquiao and Cusi factions earlier figured in a word war as they both claimed authority over PDP-Laban, that is chaired by President Duterte.
The Cusi camp also endorsed Go and Duterte as the party's candidates for president and vice president, respectively.