THE ruling Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party has elected two more officers following the assumption of Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao as party president.
Elected were deputy speakers Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. of Pampanga and Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur as regional vice presidents for Luzon and Caraga, respectively.
The two new officers took their oath of office before Pacquiao last Thursday night, a day after the ruling party elected the senator as president and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco as executive vice president.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III earlier said he relinquished his post as party president to give way to a new set of younger leaders, especially Pacquiao “who would bring energy and discipline to the party.”
Pacquiao’s assumption of the party’s leadership gave rise to speculations that he is indeed eyeing the presidency in 2022.
Addressing his party mates after taking over from Pimentel on Wednesday night, Pacquiao urged them to shun all forms of corruption, which he said deprives the poor of vital services and drives them deeper into poverty.
“The corrupt officials are our enemies. What they steal we even have to pay as debt. It is saddening that millions of our countrymen are hungry, sick and lose hope, while billions are being stolen by some people in the government,” he said.
PDP-Laban, the party of President Duterte who serves as its executive chairman, counts among its members five senators, 58 congressmen, 43 governors, 22 vice governors, 257 board members, 608 mayors, 541 vice mayors, 4,081 councilors, and more than 100,000 barangay leaders.