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1Sambayan ‘welcomes’ possible nomination of Pacquiao as its presidential bet

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MANILA, Philippines — In a shift in opposition coalition 1Sambayan’s stance, it said Thursday that it would “welcome” a possible nomination of Sen. Manny Pacquiao as its presidential candidate in next year’s elections.

“Siguro kung mayroong mga kaibigan si Sen. Manny Pacquiao na magno-nominate sa 1Sambayan, welcome,” Fr. Albert Alejo, one of the convenors of the coalition, said in a press briefing.

Alejo said should someone nominate Pacquiao, the boxer and lawmaker would be asked if he is willing to submit to the selection process of 1Sambayan. If he agrees, the coalition will interview and screen him according to their criteria.

1Sambayan had previously shut its doors on the possibility of Pacquiao becoming one of its nominees for president or vice president.

Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, in particular, said that the senator lacks competence due to his absenteeism in Congress and cannot be considered as one of its bets for the 2022 polls due to his being allied with the Duterte administration.

The opposition coalition, however, changed its tune as Pacquiao has fallen out of President Rodrigo Duterte’s favor and is rumored to be booted out as president of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan.

Duterte has been attacking Pacquiao in recent weeks after the senator alleged corruption in various government agencies.

Meanwhile, a schism has emerged in PDP-Laban as Pacquiao and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi try to wrest control over the party, with Duterte, who sits as party chairman, following Cusi’s lead.

Carpio said “anyone can come in or come back” to their list of nominees for president and vice president as they have not yet closed their nomination process.

“The situation is fluid. These candidates are afraid, if they come out now, the trolls of Duterte will pound on them,” he said. — Xave Gregorio 


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