Admin-backed PDP-Laban faction voids expulsion of Cusi, 2 other officers

Published July 16, 2021, 4:51 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

A faction of the Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Friday, July 16, claimed they formed the party’s national council and went on to void the resolution that removed Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and two other officers from the political party.

Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi (Ariel Fernandez/ MANILA BULLETIN)

During the hybrid national council meeting called by Cusi in Clark, Pampanga, PDP-Laban vice president for international affairs Raul Lambino moved to void the resolution earlier released by the faction of party president Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao expelling Cusi, the party’s vice chairman.

The Cusi-led group also reinstated PDP-Laban secretary general Melvin Matibag and membership committee head Undersecretary Astravel Naik.

Lambino called the resolution “illegal”, saying it was signed by PDP-Laban members who are “clearly motivted by ill will.”

The resolution, he added, “is not only void but moreso, a blatant violation of party constitution and principles.”

“It is unfortunate that even with the direction and support of the party chairman, President Rodrigo Duterte, of this national council meeting and tomorrow’s national assembly, some members of the party continued to act in violation of our constitution, by insisting on an illegal resolution. It should not be entertained and dignified,” he said.

Lambino’s motion was not opposed by PDP-Laban members present in the event, prompting Cusi, who was leading the meeting, to approve it.

“I would like to thank the congressmen, PDP[-Laban] congressmen headed by Speaker Velasco for their expression of support. I’m truly humbled and also to the governors and other officers. Thank you very much,” Cusi told his partymates.

PDP-Laban congressmen behind Cusi

Lambino disclosed that PDP-Laban members in the House of Representatives are backing Cusi’s “continued service as the vice chairman of the party”.

At least 27 congressmen, led by House Speaker Allan Velasco, signed on July 14 a manifesto signifying their support for Cusi.

It was also Velasco who “helped” invite congressmen to the national council meeting, as well as the July 17 national assembly to be attended by Duterte.

Velasco, who attended the event via Zoom, already vowed to support the possible candidacy of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for presidency in 2022.

Aside from Cusi, Matibag and Naik, the national council also ruled to reinstate the group of lawyer Rogelio “Bicbic” Garcia as “full-fledged members” of the party.

During the 2019 elections, Garcia’s group claimed to be the legitimate officers of the PDP-Laban, challenged the legitimacy of Pimentel’s leadership of the party.

The Comelec later declared the Pimentel group as the legitimate officials of PDP-Laban.

“They are still members of PDP-Laban, there were no expulsion notices given to them,” Naik said.

“The group of Atty. Bic Garcia is more than welcome to rejoin the party,” Cusi said.

Over 120 PDP-Laban members attended Friday’s national council meeting physically and virtually, including governors and mayors.

Pacquiao and PDP-Laban executive vice chairman Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III had maintained that the upcoming PDP-Laban assembly is unauthorized.