Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Monday tagged Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi as the brains behind the “power grab” within the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban, saying it is evident in his recent actions within the political party.
“What is obvious is that Secretary Cusi is the one taking action. He is the brains behind these attempts…they are forcing through,” Pimentel said in an interview with reporters.
“But me and Sen. Manny (Pacquiao), we will continue acting that we are the PDP-Laban; the paper trail, headquarters, history and its continuation—it’s all ours,” Pimentel said.
“If ever there are changes, it’s a power grab. The question is, is that a legitimate expression of the will of the party, this power grab?” the PDP-Laban’s executive vice chairman and one of its main founders said.
Pacquiao is PDP-Laban’s party president while President Duterte is the chairman of the party. Cusi, on the other hand, is the vice chairman of PDP-Laban.
Malacanang reported that the President will attend the PDP-Laban meeting on July 17, as he recognizes the leadership of Cusi.
Pacquiao and his allies in the PDP-Laban had earlier expelled Cusi and two other party officials for showing allegiance to another political party and supporting another possible presidential candidate in the upcoming May 2022 elections.
Pimentel, who sides with Pacquiao, said they will continue to “resist” the overtures of those who just joined the party when President Duterte won but never participated in the party’s activities and just wanted to gain benefits.
“We won’t allow that you just take over the party and dump those who have long been mainstays in the party and have invested blood in it,” he said.
Pimentel also urged members of the PDP-Laban not to attend the “unauthorized” party meeting Cusi set this weekend.
“We just want to make this call to everyone that the July 16, 17 meeting is not authorized by the party leadership, so don’t attend the meeting,” he said.
“But if they attend, then we’ll see what will happen but we have a September national assembly,” he pointed out.
At the same time, Pimentel said he is disappointed at the party’s present “abnormal” situation.
“I’m saddened that we reached this point because we could have fixed this if we’re just open, trusting and honest with each other. It’s sad because it has become an abnormal times for the party,” he pointed out. [Hannah L. Torregoza]