DEPUTY Speaker and Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay) party-list Rep. Lito Atienza has declared support for the presidential bid of Sen. Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.
Atienza welcomed the nomination and acceptance of Pacquiao as standard-bearer of a faction of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) to next year’s presidential polls.
“Manny is the right man to lead the nation after this administration. We describe the man in four words: maka-Diyos, makatao, makabayan, makakalikasan,” Atienza said.
“We are in full support of his dream and wisdom of a prosperous life for every Filipino,” Atienza added
Pacquiao said “I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring” after the faction of PDP-Laban led by him and Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III held the party’s national assembly late Sunday afternoon.
The other faction of the PDP-Laban is led by Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, which nominated Sen. Bong Go and President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte as presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively.
Go politely declined the nomination while Duterte accepted the challenge.
Pacquiao was the second declared presidential candidate after Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson. Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III is Lacson’s vice presidential bet.
“Sa ngalan ng mga kababayan natin na matagal nang naghahangad ng tamang pagbabago sa ating pamahalaan, tapat na panunungkulan at serbisyo sa mamamayang Pilipino, buong puso ko po, buong tapang at kababaang-loob ay umaasa po ako sa inyong suporta,” Pacquiao said.
“Sa mga nanunungkulan sa ating pamahalaan na patuloy na nagsasamantala at nagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan, malapit na kayong magsama-sama sa kulungan,” Pacquiao warned. “Your time is up.”
While the Cusi PDP-Laban faction asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to declare Pacquiao and his allies as fake officers of the group, Pimentel said Pacquiao is the genuine presidential candidate of the highly divided party.
“Kahit ano man ang mangyari, itong ating ipo-proclaim ngayong araw (Sunday) ay kandidato na ng PDP-Laban sa pagka-pangulo ng ating bansa,” Pimentel said. “Uulitin ko, kahit ano man ang mangyari.”
“Exciting ito dahil malaki ang posibilidad na mananalo tayo sa darating na halalan at ang tunay na PDP-Laban ang magpapatakbo ng ating gobyerno,” Pimentel said.