by Charles Jay
Manny Pacquiao is changing political parties.
The world champ plans to take the oath as a new member of Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban, which will heretofore be known as PDP-Laban, which happens to be the party of the Vice-President of the Philippines, Jejomar Binay.
However, it is not the party of the sitting president, Benigno Aquino III, so I’m sure we’ll be treated to more political soap opera in the weeks and months to come.
Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank
For the time being, the matter of which party banner PacMan is going to carry in next year’s Sarangani gubernatorial election has been settled.
By the way, that political move by Pacquiao will constitute a “trade” of sorts with the current governor, Miguel Rene A. Dominguez, who is not eligible to run for another term.
As most people who have followed Pacquiao’s recent travails are aware, the tax-related contempt charge he has been hit with has been connected by many to his refusal to sign impeachment articles against Chief Justice Renato Corona, which has reportedly drawn the ire of Aquino. This has certainly been the “party line” of Pacquiao’s supporters, as they create the smokescreen that there really isn’t substance to the charges, but part of a pure political motivation.
There is nothing to suggest that the fundamentals of the situation have changed all that much.
Of course, there is time for Pacquiao to change his mind. Party officials were hoping that they could get him to take the oath some time before his June 9 fight against Timothy Bradley. Will he do that, or will he reconsider his situation?
Some indecision on his part, I guess, wouldn’t be the most surprising thing in the world, as this would be Pacquiao’s fifth political party, including one he started called the People’s Champ Movement.
Those who observe politics closely in the Philippines believe that even though Binay and Aquino seem to be getting along well right now, a clash in inevitable. That’s because their platforms and ideologies are different.
The issues surrounding Corona are also going to be important, according to observers. Battle lines are being drawn, and the general feeling is that those legislators who vote not to impeach Corona are, in effect, showing their support for Binay in an eventual election. “This is the Binay factor. If you’re for Binay for president for 2016, you’ll probably vote for acquittal,” said former Senator Ernesto Maceda, a strong Binay supporter, to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “Why? First of all, if Corona is convicted, that strengthens Noynoy (Pres. Aquino) and a stronger Noynoy means stronger support for his [chosen] candidate.”
Aquino’s “chosen candidate” is Mar Roxas, currently the Transportation Secretary, who is head of the Liberal Party (Aquino’s party) and was the vice-presidential running mate in 2010. Meanwhile, Binay was the running mate of the former president, Joseph Estrada. Now Estrada and Binay have struck up the United Nationalist Alliance, or UNA, and that is what Pacquiao is getting himself into the middle of.
The consensus is that Binay and Roxas will face off in the presidential election in 2016, and that it could get somewhat ugly. Everybody’s starting to pick sides right now, and Binay is gathering up support to go into the 2013 mid-term elections. The recruitment of Pacquiao, which reportedly began ten months ago, is part of that. And it would appear that the plan is for Pacquiao to be the running mate for Binay in 2016, with an eye toward the presidential campaign in 2022.
So if he was worried about making political enemies, he’s about to make a whole lot more.