ILOILO City —Presidential candidate Senator Manny Pacquiao said his running mate, Representative Lito Atienza, has sounded off that if he quits the vice presidential race, he wants Senate President Vicente Sotto III to take his place.
"Wala naman kaming problema ni Lito Atienza. At ang sabi naman ng aking ka-tandem na kung may mapili man siya na kung sakaling hindi talaga niya kaya, gusto niya si Sotto ang pwedeng tandem ko as vice president," Pacquiao said in a media briefing as he continued his campaign rally here.
(Lito Atienza and I do not have a problem with our campaign. But my running mate said that if he would choose his replacement because he would not make it, he wants Sotto to be my vice president.)
A recent knee surgery has prevented Atienza from joining Pacquiao in the campaign sorties. But Pacquiao said Atienza's condition is improving.
"Kasi nakakalakad na siya, nakakatayo na. Malay mo na pagalingin siya agad ng Panginoon para makalabas na, makalakad na, makapangampanya na," he said.
(Atienza could now walk and stand. Who knows the Lord would heal him so we can already go out, walk and campaign.)
Pacquiao added he does not see Atienza's injury as God's sign for him to back out at the presidency.
"Iba po 'yung kay VP Lito. Ako pa nga ang nag-decide sa kaniya na magpa-opera. Ayaw pa niya ipaopera tapos sabi ko paopera ka na, masakit 'yan. Ako na ang nag-decide sa kaniya. Gusto niya pang ipagpaliban ang pagpapaopera dahil nasa pangangampanya siya pero sabi ko ipaopera na lang niya, ako na bahala," Pacquiao said.
(This is different. I prodded him to undergo the operation. He does not want it but I said he needed it. He wants to delay his operation because we are in the election campaign but I said he should undergo an operation, I will take care of matters.)
Meeting with Sotto
Without giving a definite date, Pacquiao said he is set to have a meeting with Sotto.
"Abangan niyo na rin 'yung susunod na kabanata kapag nakapag-usap na kami. Hindi pa kami nakapag-usap eh, kaya sabi ko abangan niyo na lang."
('Wait for the next episode' after we finished our discussions. We have not yet talked to each other, that's why I said just wait for it.)
Asked if their discussions will involve Atienza's replacement, Pacquiao said: "Hindi naman, basta mag-uusap lang kami, depende na kung ano 'yung pag-uusapan namin, about sa buhay, about sa politics."
(Not that really. We would really just talk about life, about politics.)—LDF, GMA News