Poll lawyer says Comelec to decide legitimate officers of PDP-Laban

Published July 15, 2021, 2:20 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Poll lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will have to resolve the leadership issue in Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP–Laban) if the party fails to fix the matter internally.

“If the controversy is not resolved by August 15, we might find both the (Manny) Pacquiao Wing and the (Alfonso) Cusi Wing filing their respective versions of Sworn Information and Update Statement (SIUS) and the list of the party’s authorized signatories,” Macalintal said in a statement on Wednesday, July 14.

“And this is where the Comelec, as held by the Supreme Court, will exercise its exclusive jurisdiction over the issue of leadership in a political party incidental to its power to register political parties,” he added.

Macalintal explained that August 15 is the last day for registered political parties (RPP) to submit their respective SIUS, which shall state, among others, their current list of officers and members.

He added that September 1 is the start of the political conventions of RPPs to select and nominate their official candidates in the May 2022 election, and September 30 is the deadline for RPPs to submit their authorized signatories with their specimen signatures who will sign all documents they will submit to Comelec.

“Thus, if the leadership issue is not internally resolved by the PDP-Laban before August 15, the party and its officers and members will be in for a big and serious political crisis,” Macalintal said.

“There could be conflicting claims as to who has the authority to sign the documents to be submitted to the Comelec and who has the authority to call for a national convention to nominate their official candidates,” he added.

Macalintal recalled what happened before the 2019 polls, when the Comelec received two sets of SIUS and two sets of List of Authorized Signatories from Senator Aquilino Pimentel III and a certain Rogelio Garcia. Both claimed to be the legitimate party officers of PDP-Laban.

After due notice and hearing, the Comelec later declared the Pimentel group as the legitimate officials of PDP-Laban.

Energy Secretary Cusi together with two other party officers were earlier expelled by the faction of Senator Pacquiao, the party National President, over alleged violations of its by-laws and constitution.