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Pacquiao bolts Aquino's LP for Binay's PDP-Laban

With only a little over a year before the 2013 midterm elections, Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has decided to leave President Benigno Aquino III's Liberal Party to join Vice President Jejomar Binay's Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban). In a text to GMA News Online on Monday, PDP-Laban president Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said the boxing champion will take his oath later in the day at 10 p.m. "He likes our party ideology and platform. He made the decision weeks ago ‘ata," he said. Pimentel added that Pacquiao will run for governor of Sarangani under their party in the 2013 elections. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Aquino administration will respect Pacquiao's decision if he feels that he would be able to serve his constituents better with this move. “Wherever he feels he will serve the interest of the people, we respect his decision,” he said. Before joining the Liberal Party, Pacquiao was a member of the Nacionalista Party of defeated presidential candidate Sen. Manuel Villar.    Aquino is the chairman of LP. Pacquiao’s move came days after PDP-Laban formed a coalition called the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) with former President Joseph Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP). In the 2010 elections, Estrada ran for president while Binay ran for vice president under their previous coalition, United Opposition (UNO). UNA will reportedly field Pimentel, former Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile, Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, former senators Kit Tatad and Ernesto Maceda, and incumbent senators Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, and defeated senatorial bet Joey De Venecia in the 2013 senatorial elections. Pimentel and Zubiri were bitter foes in an electoral dispute that eventually saw Pimentel assume Zubiri's Senate seat when the latter resigned last August. UNA is also inviting former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, and Senators Gregorio Honasan and Alan Peter Cayetano to run under the coalition. On the other hand, among those said to be possible candidates under LP in the 2013 senatorial race are House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca, and Customs deputy commissioner Danilo Lim. - KBK/HS, GMA News