Duterte removal as PDP-Laban chair to 'save' party from crisis, party stalwart says

Published August 30, 2021, 2:33 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) stalwart Ron Munsayac said Monday, August 30, they are hopeful that the political party will have a “better and clearer” direction with Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III at the helm.


Munsayac said this after the PDP-Laban faction led by Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao elected Pimentel on Sunday to replace President Duterte as the administration party’s chairman.

But the PDP-Laban stalwart refused to call it an ouster, explaining to reporters that the election was only conducted to fill a post occupied by an “overstaying” Duterte.

“Masyadong namang harsh ‘yong term na ‘ousted’. Kasi po…si chairman Duterte at vice chairman [Alfonso] Cusi ay naappoint, hindi po na-eelect ng PDP-Laban noong 2016 (Ousted is too harsh a term. Because chairman Duterte and vice chairman Cusi were only appointed, and not elected by PDP-Laban in 2016),” Munsayac said in a virtual interview.

“Klarong-klaro naman po sa constitution ng PDP-Laban na ang party position ay maximum of two years lamang. So ngayon 2021 na po, so talagang overstaying na po sila (It’s very clear in the constitution of the PDP-Laban that a party position must only be occupied for a maximum of two years. It’s already 2021, so they are really overstaying),” he explained.

Munsayac said the election was also a “decisive move” to “save” the PDP-Laban from its current crisis. He noted that the rift and issues among party members had happened under Duterte’s leadership.

“We’ve been pleading po sa kanya na ‘Chairman Digong, let’s fix the party’…Wala pong nangyayari (But nothing is happening). Ang nangyayari po ay iniinsulto niya pa po ‘yong aming party president na si Manny Pacquiao (Instead, what happens is that he insults our party president Pacquiao),” he lamented, saying Duterte even ignored their notices.

Duterte, to recall, had insulted Pacquiao’s competencies.

“Oras na po na magkaroon ng bagong leadership ng PDP-Laban. Kasi hindi naman po natin na maitatanggi na may problema, may krisis po ang PDP-laban ngayon at kailangan namin ng mga lider na talagang tatayo sa prinsipyo ng partido (So we thought that it’s time for the PDP-Laban to have a new leadership. Because we cannot deny that there is a problem, that there is a crisis in the PDP-Laban now, and we need a leader who would really stand for the party’s principles),” Munsayac said.

He said party members did not find it difficult, and were even “happy”, to elect Pimentel as Duterte’s replacement since the senator has long been working for and has vowed to stay in the party.

Pimentel is the son of one of PDP-Laban’s founders, late senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr.

“We are very optimistic na under the new leadership of chairman Pimentel and president Pacquiao, ay talagang maayos na po talaga ‘yong organization, ‘yong direksyon at ‘yong leadership ng PDP-Laban — hindi na po kami mahahati pa (that there will be a better organization, direction and leadership of the PDP-Laban — we will not be divided anymore),” Munsayac said.

“I believe, because if the development yesterday, mas klaro at mas lilinaw na po ang direksyon ng PDP-Laban (the PDP-Laban will have a clearer direction),” he added. “We can move forward talaga really).”

Still, Munsayac says their group will remain supportive of the Duterte administration.

“Alam naman po ni Pangulo ‘yan na sumuporta ang PDP-Laban sa kanya before 2016 pa. 2014 pa lang magkakasama na kami, and we supported him since Day 1, ng campaign niya at ng administration niya (The President knows that the PDP-Laban has been supportive of him since 2016. We have been together since 2014, and we supported him since his campaign and his administration),” he said.

“We will support him until the last day of his term. ‘Yon po ‘yong usapan namin (That was what we have agreed upon). We are very supportive of his administration,” he assured Duterte.

On Sunday, the group of Duterte and Cusi slammed Pimentel’s election as a “comedy” and call the latter’s faction as “pretenders and attention seekers”.