Pacquiao of the Philippines is removed from the ruling party chairman Reuters after a quarrel

© Reuters. File picture: Philippine Senator and boxer Manny Pacquiao speaks at the Congressional Confirmation Hearing of the Manila Senate Environment Secretary Regina Lopez on May 2, 2017.REUTERS/Eric De Castro/File Photo/File Photo

MANILA (Reuters)-Philippine senator and boxing star Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao was elected as the leader of the country’s ruling party on Saturday. He met President Rodrigo Duterte a few weeks ago. China’s position and anti-corruption record challenged him.

Pacquiao, 42 years old, is seen as a possible contender to succeed Duterte in next year’s presidential election. He has long been one of the president’s staunch supporters, supporting his bloody anti-drug war and trying to reintroduce him. death penalty.

But last month, Pacquiao criticized Duterte’s gentle attitude towards Beijing’s aggressiveness in the South China Sea and said that after he was investigating government corruption, the relationship between them deteriorated.

The ruling Democratic faction led by Duterte’s close ally and Energy Minister Alfonso Cousy called a vote at the National Assembly meeting on Saturday. Cusi was elected party president.

The party’s deputy secretary-general, Melvin Matibag, told reporters that the vote was taken because existing officials had exceeded the two-year term limit.

Duterte, who is still chairman, said in a speech to Parliament that the party “is as strong as ever, and … unites to further strengthen our ranks until the end of my term and beyond.”

Pacquiao said in a statement that the party should focus on preventing the spread of the more contagious variant of the Delta coronavirus. “If Cousy and others think politics is more important now, it depends on them.”

The eighth class champion is training for the welterweight championship in the United States, but has not yet announced his presidential campaign. He was sworn in as chairman of the party in December.

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