THE Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) faction led by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, said Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao will be nominated as the party’s standard bearer for the 2022 national elections.

Pimentel, son of the late former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. who was one of the founders of PDP-Laban, said only Pacquiao is on their preliminary list of presidential bets.

“Kaya nga preliminary list na lang tawag natin do’n kasi tunay na shortlist siya, isa lang. Si Senator Manny Pacquiao lang ang nandoon,” Pimentel said in a television interview.

He said the nomination for the party’s 2022 national election bets will be held during their national assembly set for September 18.

Pimentel said they will follow the party’s “tradition,” under which the standard bearer nominee will be the one to choose his runningmate and senatorial bets.

He said Pacquiao has yet to decide whether he will accept the nomination.

Ron Munsayac, PDP-Laban executive director who is part of Pimentel’s faction, said in a statement that the Go-Duterte tandem is a “smokescreen” for Carpio.

“This tandem is merely a distraction to shield their real candidate from political attacks and to weaken the PDP-Laban with this decoy candidacy,” he said.

“The Go-Duterte tandem can officially withdraw from the presidential and vice presidential race at any time…and issue a very clear and firm orders to their campaign machinery and supporters to vote for Sara Duterte as president instead of him,” he added.

But, Munsayac said the grassroots members of the party will not let it happen.

On the senatoriables identified by the faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Munsayac said they are not members of the party.

“How can they be our candidates for the Senate? It’s pretty obvious that our new members who hijacked the PDP-Laban aren’t aware of the party’s principles and processes,” he said.

In July, the Cusi faction ousted Pacquiao as the party president and Pimentel as the executive vice chairman.

Pimentel’s faction, however, maintained that they are the legitimate officers and members of the PDP-Laban.

On Tuesday, August 24, the Cusi faction said President Rodrigo Duterte has already agreed to run for vice president in 2022.

They have yet to announce their presidential bet nominee but Duterte hinted that it would be his former long-time aide, Senator Christopher Go.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. confirmed that Duterte said he and Go will not pursue their plans if his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, decides to run for president.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has yet to decide which faction will be recognized as PDP-Laban. (SunStar Philippines)