Pimentel: Comelec can easily resolve infighting within PDP-Laban

Published July 14, 2021, 1:48 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban executive vice chairman and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Wednesday, July 14 said he can vouch that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) can easily resolve the ruling political party’s problems in the event their leaders fail to meet and solve the infighting.

Pimentel said he is certain the poll body has sufficient experience to deal with the issues now hounding the PDP-Laban as they have already seen it happen with other political parties.

“I’m sure the Comelec is already aware of what is happening currently with PDP-Laban. So the Comelec should have a procedure now on how to speedily resolve this,” Pimentel said in a Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

“Pwede naman sila mag trace back eh sino ba ung recognized na party members ng (They can trace back who are the recognized party members of) PDP-Laban, step by step,” he pointed out.

In the event the Comelec is able to establish who are the legitimate members of the PDP-Laban, Pimentel said he hopes that those who claim to be part of the party, but never complied with basic party membership, should retreat.

“Umatras sila, kung sino man yung mga nagke-claim na PDP-Laban (sila) umatras sila kung sino man ngayon …ma- recognize ng Comelec. (Who ever claims they are part of the PDP-Laban should retreat once the Comelec recognizes the real party members),” he stressed.

Pimentel was responding to questions on the possibility of having two PDP-Laban ‘party’ due to the infighting led by two factions—one that is led by Senator Manny Pacquiao and the other, which is led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, the party’s vice president.

Pimentel and Pacquiao, the party president, are both at odds with Cusi who is poised to lead the national assembly and council meeting of the PDP-Laban this weekend July 16 and 17.

Both senators consider the upcoming meeting as unauthorized, even though President Duterte, who is the party chairman, has already signified his support to Cusi and will attend the national assembly.

The son of the late Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr.—the founder of the PDP-Laban—reiterated his concern that the party will “cease to exist” should it decide to endorse an “outsider” as a presidential candidate in the upcoming May 2022 elections.

“Anong gagawin nila sa PDP-Laban? Ifo-fold nila. Lalamunin ito (What will they do with PDP-Laban? They will fold it. They will overwhelm it) and we will cease to exist,” Pimentel said.

“That’s my mission …to make sure that itong partidong ito na dugo na po ang na-invest namin diyan …matuloy ang existence, (that this party, where we have already invested our blood in it, will continue to exist),” he stressed.

Cusi’s faction, the senator said, obviously prefers to support an “outsider” to be the party’s standard-bearer in next year’s elections, which he rejects.

Pimentel has since said he is supporting Pacquiao’s possible presidential bid in the next May 2022 elections and the whole PDP-Laban should rally behind the boxing icon.

Asked if the party is open to coalescing with Duterte-Carpio’s party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), Pimentel said there should be a logical reason why the PDP-Laban will form an alliance with HNP, and not just because it will choose to support another presidential candidate, possibly Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

“What is the purpose nga? So she will be the standard bearer of PDP-Laban? Why are we automatically ignoring a partymate who has a potential and who can prove he can win in the elections?” the lawmaker pointed out.

“I don’t understand why they are so dismissive, they belittle him too much, enough to look for ‘outsiders’,” he lamented.