Pacquiao spox denies pres’l bet in hiding after purported dismal debate performance
Pacquiao spox also discloses removal of Gatchlian from Senate slate
Senator Manny Pacquiao’s apparent sudden retreat from the public eye has nothing to do with his supposed not-so-impressive performance at the recent Comelec presidential debate, his spokesman said Tuesday.
Pacquiao going incommunicado since Monday, a day after the second Comelec-organized presidential debate, is because of the many “private meetings” that he has to attend to, according to Ron Munsayac, Head of The Manny Pacquiao Political Campaign Team.
“Hindi naman po nawawala si Senator Pacquiao, kundi napakarami po n’yang meetings. Kasi ang isang kampanya ay hindi lang naman ito puro motorcades o rallies. Pero marami dito ay meetings with your leaders,” Munsayac said.
Pacquiao conducts at least 20 virtual and face-to-face meetings daily, according to Munsayac.
The presidential aspirant drew criticisms from some observers over the way he delivered during last Sunday’s debate his would-be foreign policy, and over his controversial pronouncement that he would kill drug suppliers.
Munsayac stressed the difficulty in answering pressing and important policy questions with time limit and other forms of pressure.
With only 35 days to go before election day, Pacquiao will maximize his remaining time by personally going to villages to talk to the people, his camp said.
As per their count, Pacquiao has already visited around 300-400 barangays out of the more than 42,000 villages in the country, Munsayac said.
Despite their standard bearer’s poor survey showings, Team Pacquiao remains confident that their bet has a strong chance of winning the presidential race.
“We are extremely confident na mananalo si Manny Pacquiao as president… Kita n’yo naman ang dami ng mga tao, kahit saan magtungo si Manny Pacquiao, dinudumog po talaga,” he said.
Their campaign team also has strong volunteer groups conducting “house-to-house campaign” for him, he added.
Munsayac, however, cannot express the same level of confidence for Pacquiao’s running mate Lito Atienza, who remains absent in the campaign trail due to medical reasons.
Their group is still waiting for Atienza’s final decision if he will back out from the vice presidential race.
Pacquiao and Atienza are supposedly now talking with the camp of their respective rivals, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Vicente Sotto III.
“I believe may pinag-uusapan na po sila sa level po nila. Sa level po nilang apat, I believe nag-uusap po sila. Hindi man po direkta… but silang grupo,” Munsayac said.
Pacquiao had said that Atienza prefers Sotto to replace him should he withdraw from the race.
Meantime, a good number of PDP-Laban members are now discreetly extending help to the Team Pacquiao campaign team, Munsayac said.
Some are providing vehicles and other needs, he said.
“Huwag sana silang (PDP-Laban-Cusi wing supporting presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos) magpakumpyansa kasi, campaign.. election is sa baba talaga at ‘yan yung ginagawa ni Manny Pacquiao,” said Munsayac.
Meanwhile, re-electionist Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has been removed from Pacquiao’s Senate slate, Munsayac told ABS-CBN News.
The move, he said, was upon the request of Gatchalian himself.
“Way, way, way back that he has already told Senator Pacquiao that sasama na po siya sa UniTeam,” Munsayac said of Gatchalian.
Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri will remain in the Team Pacquiao Senate slate despite his open declaration of support for Marcos.
“Recently, he was seen endorsing BBM. Ang sabi po ni Senator Pacquiao, he still wants Senator Zubiri because he believes in the capability of Senator Zubiri,” Munsayac said.
“May konting pain siguro d’yan dahil tao lang naman po si Senator Pacquiao. But yun din po ang turo n’ya sa amin, na isantabi muna ang emotions. Tingnan na lang muna kung ano ang makakabuti sa bansa.”
Pacquiao previously dropped former congressman Neri Colmenares and labor leader Elmer Labog from their slate following the intention of the two to stick with the 1Sambayan senatorial slate.