PHILIPPINES— PDP-Laban Secretary-General Melvin Matibag on Tuesday claimed that Senator Manny Pacquiao’s son, Jimuel, is currently active in a national political party to prepare for his father’s 2022 presidential bid.

In a virtual interview, Matibag said Jimuel Pacquiao is sitting as the Youth Affairs Committee chairman of the Labor Party of the Philippines.

“We also got hold of a document learning that the son of Senator Manny Pacquiao is very active in one of the national political parties,” he said.

“Mukhang there’s a plan sa group nila Senator Manny Pacquiao to put up a lot of national political parties para sa desire niyang tumakbo as presidente para ma-secure nila ang iba-ibang grupo… Since Jimuel Pacquiao is part of it, we are surprised na kasama din pala sila doon,” he added.

(It appears that the group of Senator Manny Pacquiao has a plan to put up a lot of national political parties due to his desire to run for president and to secure different groups for his candidacy. Since Jimuel Pacquiao is part of it, we are surprised that they were affiliated with that party.)

Although Matibag said this did not violate any PDP-Laban rules, he claimed that the Pacquiao family is “very busy putting up national political parties.”

Matibag then repeated his accusation that Pacquiao had turned the regional political party, People’s Champ Movement, into a national party.

“Connected lahat ‘yan. Ibig saibihin, he wants to secure na kung s’ya tatakbo siyang presidente meron siyang vehicle kung di man niya makuha ang PDP meron syang back up,” he said.

(These are all connected. This means he wants to secure a means by which he can run for president in case he is unable to get the support of PDP-Laban.)

Unpatriotic trapos

Meanwhile, PDP-Laban executive director Ron Munsayac asked Matibag and the faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to stop politicking amid the pandemic.

“Nakaka lungkot lang na madami sa mga opisyal ng administrasyon na ito ay panay pamumulitika ang inaatupag sa gitna ng tumataas na [COVID-19 ]cases at dumadaming alegasyon ng korapsyon sa iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno,” Munsayac said in a statement.

(It is saddening that a lot of administration officials are resorting to politicking instead of addressing the rising COVID-19 cases and the allegations of corruption against different government agencies.)

He also called for unity as Pacquiao is set to fight Cuban boxer Yordens Ugas in the United States on Sunday.

“Umaasa po kami na magkaisa po ang mga Pilipino ngayong linggo sa pag suporta sa ating pambansang kamao Sen. Manny Pacquiao sa kanyang world championship fight,” he said.

(We hope that the Filipinos will be united this Sunday to support Sen. Manny Pacquiao in his world championship fight.)

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, a PDP-Laban stalwart who is also an ally of Pacquiao, said Matibag’s theories have become confusing.

“He now mentions not less than 3 parties: PDP, PCM, Labor. Ano ba talaga ang objective nila? To distract Manny Pacquiao in his upcoming fight and hoping that MP loses in a world title fight? How unpatriotic of this group of trapos,” Pimentel told GMA News Online in a text message.

Pimentel likewise pointed out that Jimuel Pacquiao can join any political party as long as he is of legal age.

Last week, Matibag threatened Pacquiao with expulsion from the PDP-Laban after the lawmaker reportedly started to convert the People’s Champ Movement into a national political organization.

According to Matibag, a complaint was filed by a certain Reymar Masilungan, chairperson of the livelihood committee, against Pacquiao over his affiliation with the People’s Champ Movement.

The complaint will be resolved on October 1.

—DVM, GMA News