PRESIDENTIAL aspirant and Sen. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao thumbed down an offer to become the vice presidential bet of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. who is likewise seeking the presidency in the upcoming 2022 national elections.
"While I'm flattered that various camps [are] seeking me to be their VP, it requires the Presidency para magawa ang mga pangako ko sa mga mahihirap at sa mga nagsisikap na mula sa hirap (in order to fulfill my promises for the poor and for those aspiring from hardship), said Pacquiao in a statement.
Pacquiao was apparently responding to a remark by Sen. Maria Imelda Josefa "Imee" Marcos that her brother Bongbong was eyeing bets with bailiwicks in Visayas and Mindanao as his vice presidential candidate, including fellow presidential bet Pacquiao.
Sen. Imee Marcos said they were considering Pacquiao to be her brother's running mate should the boxing icon be willing to slide to vice president.
"Our time is now. Para Ipanalo ang mga mahihirap. Nakikita natin na lumalaki ang grassroot support araw araw habang umiikot tayo sa buong bansa. Naririnig ko ang daing at nais ng mga kapwa natin at mga kasama natin na galing sa mababang antas ng lipunan (Our time is now. For the poor to win. We have seen that the grassroot support is growing bigger everyday while we go around the country. I have listened to the calls of our fellowmen and friends from the lower part of society)," he said
Pacquiao said he was "extremely honored but that his fight for the presidency would continue.
Sought for a reaction to the offer, Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel 3rd said in a text message that it may be part of a "psywar or negative psychology".
"Also being VP (vice president) is not in the radar of MP (Manny Pacquiao). And then MP already has a serious partner and running mate in the person of LA (Lito Atienza)," he continued.
Pimentel added, "The ticket must be ideologically consistent too. MP and [the] Marcoses are worlds apart in their analysis of what ails our country."
"That MP 'Express Train' has left the station and will triumphantly arrive at its destination at the proper time," Pimentel stressed.
Pacquiao and Pimentel belong to the other faction of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
But instead of running under a divided PADP-Laban, Pacquiao chose to be the standard bearer of the Cebu-based Promdi party, where he forged an alliance. His running mate is Buhay partylist Rep. Jose Lito Atienza.
The other PDP-Laban group is led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi which fielded Senators Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa and Christopher "Bong" Go as its presidential and vice presidential candidates.