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Senator Manny Pacquiao’s ascension as the new leader of the PDP-Laban will bring fresh vigor to the ruling party whose membership has shrunk over the past few years, according to the party’s outgoing president, Senator Koko Pimentel.

The boxer-turned-politician “will bring not only more energy to the party in the sense of expanding its membership, but also more discipline to the current members in the sense of inculcating in them the concept of principles-based politics which includes their party membership,” Pimentel told reporters in a Viber message.

“He will also start educating the Party and the public about his advocacy on ‘Peace and Economics.’ I have asked that I be allowed to concentrate on deepening our understanding of our ideology (5 basic principles) and deepening our ties with our existing international allies,” the senator said.

Pacquiao took over the top position in the ruling PDP-Laban party of President Rodrigo Duterte during the PDP-Laban fellowship night. He was designated acting president, replacing outgoing PDP-Laban president and Senator Koko Pimentel.

In his speech, Pacquiao said he would strengthen the party in service of the poorest Filipinos instead of big business, foreigners and other vested interests.

“We are here to fight for the poor, the jobless the voiceless, the hopeless. This is what the PDP-Laban under Manny Pacquiao’s leadership will stand for,” he said.

Pacquiao, however, said he was not ready to talk politics, even as rumors swirled that he intends to seek the presidency in the 2022 elections.

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