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Atienza claims Makabayan backs Pacquiao, but coalition says otherwise

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Atienza claims Makabayan backs Pacquiao, but coalition says otherwise
Senator Manny Pacquiao and House Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza greet supporters at the Luneta Park in Manila on Friday. Pacquiao and Atienza (Buhay Party-list) filed their certificates of candidacy for president and vice president, respectively, for the 2022 national elections on October 1.
The STAR / KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza (Buhay party-list), a candidate for vice president, claimed Thursday that the Makabayan bloc has endorsed his running mate in the 2022 elections, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, for president but the coalition of leftist party-lists refuted this.

"Yesterday, we met with Makabayan’s organizations. And I tell you, they all supported Manny," Atienza said at the Pandesal Forum.

But former Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño, who are top officials of the Makabayan coalition, denied this, saying that they have yet to back any candidate.

"Not true. Makabayan has not declared support for any presidential or vice presidential candidate," Casiño said in a tweet.

Even without a formal endorsement, Pacquiao has included Makabayan’s senatorial candidates, Colmenares and Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer Labog, in his slate.

Makabayan said Sunday that it has not yet endorsed a presidential candidate as it is still “in the process of consulting the candidates on platforms and programs, while pushing for the broadest possible unity to defeat Duterte and Marcos.”

Casiño said in an opinion piece for Rappler that they have met with Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, but have not been able to speak with opposition leader Vice President Leni Robredo despite her earlier commitment to forge the broadest unity possible among non-administration political players.

He said that Makabayan is still pushing for a united opposition, engaging candidates on their platforms and exploring options of working together in case a single opposition slate is not feasible. 

“It is in this light that Makabayan has not endorsed the candidacy of any of the presidential bets at this time,” Casiño said. — Xave Gregorio with a report from James Relativo

2022 ELECTIONS LITO ATIENZA MAKABAYAN MANNY PACQUIAO NERI COLMENARES TEDDY CASIñO
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