Pacquiao told to leave PDP-Laban over supposed comments on corruption

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Pacquiao told to leave PDP-Laban over supposed comments on corruption
Sen. Manny Pacquiao speaks at the Senate's plenary hall in this undated photo.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi is telling Sen. Manny Pacquiao to leave the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan after President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at the boxer-turned-lawmaker over comments he allegedly made about corruption in government.

“Lumayas ka muna bago mo sunugin ang bahay mo. (Leave first before you burn your house down,)” said Cusi, PDP-Laban’s vice chairman, on ANC’s Headstart.

Duterte, who is PDP-Laban chairman, claimed during his weekly meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic that Pacquiao, PDP-Laban acting president, alleged that his administration is “three times” more corrupt.

The president threatened that he will campaign against Pacquiao if the senator fails to prove his supposed statement on corruption in government.

It is not clear whether Pacquiao actually said this, but he did make general statements about corruption among Filipino politicians in a November 2020 podcast with internet celebrity Nuseir Yassin, who runs the popular Facebook page Nas Daily.

"I am not saying that all of them (are corrupt). If they are affected by my words, I think they're guilty of corruption," Pacquiao, a vocal supporter of the Duterte administration, said then.

No support from PDP-Laban in 2022?

Cusi said it was “really unfortunate” that Pacquiao accused the Duterte administration of corruption.

“Hindi po naman siguro tama ‘yon na sarili mong bahay susunugin mo. (Perhaps it’s not right that you are burning down your own house,)” the energy chief said.

He added that the party would likely not support Pacquiao if he decides to run for president in the 2022 elections.

“Sinusunog na niya ‘yong bahay niya eh. Paano naman susuporta ‘yong partido? (He’s burning down his house. How can the party support that?)” he said.

Duterte’s jabs at Pacquiao Monday night signalled a growing rift in PDP-Laban that Cusi said started when the senator was installed as acting president of the party, which supposedly surprised some of its members.

It was also not the first time that Duterte threw punches at Pacquiao, with the president having told the senator earlier this month that he “has a very shallow knowledge” of the West Philippine Sea issue.

Cracks in PDP-Laban became apparent when Pacquiao scolded members of the party, led by Cusi, who urged Duterte to run for vice president.


Tensions continued to flare up when party members, again led by Cusi, held a national council meeting despite protests from Pacquiao, who said that this needed his and Duterte’s authorization.

The Palace said that the decision to hold the PDP-Laban assembly came from Duterte, who recorded a video message for party-mates who attended. 

Another supposedly unauthorized national council and national assembly meeting will take place on July 16 and 17, where Pacquiao is rumored to be ousted as PDP-Laban’s acting president. — with a report from Jonathan de Santos

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