Cusi wing urges Comelec to declare Pacquiao, Pimentel illegitimate PDP-Laban reps

Published September 7, 2021, 3:51 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino -Laban (PDP-Laban) faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi on Tuesday, Sept. 7 filed a petition before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) asking the poll body to declare Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Manny Pacquiao as illegitimate representatives of the party.

Melvin Matibag, PDP-Laban’s secretary general, confirmed this to reporters saying they filed the petition “against the group usurping party authority.”

“PDP Laban has filed a case in the Comelec against the group usurping party authority and pretending to be representatives of our party,” Matibag said in a statement.

“The matter is now with the Comelec and we will let the established law, rules and regulations prevail. We shall refrain from discussing the specific issues raised in our petition out of respect to the Commission,” he said.

Sought for comment, Pimentel said they would go over the petition.

“We need to go over the petition because I have been with the PDP-Laban since 1980s and I only know of ONE PDP-Laban, which my father founded, and which I never left together with thousands of party diehards at the grassroots level,” Pimentel stressed.

“Absent the receipt of any formal complaint, it would be premature to comment,” said Ronwald Munsayac, a PDP-Laban stalwart that belongs to Pimentel’s faction.

“However, let me emphasize that the leadership of Chairman Aquilino Koko Pimentel is recognized by the grassroots members and senior leaders of the PDP Laban who have stood by and loyally represented the ideals of the party as envisioned by its founding members since 1982,” Munsayac added.

Munsayac also stressed that Pacquaio, who is expected to be declared as the standard bearer of the party in the upcoming May 2022 elections by Pimentel’s camp, “continues to enjoy the confidence of the PDP-Laban stalwarts.”

“Any statement to the contrary is a lame attempt to undermine the public’s trust in his leadership and anti-corruption advocacy,” Munsayac said.

Cusi’s faction earlier expelled Pacquiao as party president and Pimentel as executive vice chairman.

Pimentel’s camp retaliated by removing President Duterte as party chairman, replacing him with Pimentel. The senators’ group also removed party members belonging to Cusi’s wing from the party.