President Duterte gave a respectful nod on Saturday night, Oct. 16 to the father of his rival for the chairmanship of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the late Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr.
Duterte was giving a speech at the oathtaking of new PDP-Laban members and the declaration of local candidates of the party in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, when he brought up Nene.
“The PDP party, well of course, you have to give credit — as a matter of fact, a big credit to the late Senator Pimentel. Siya ang amahan (He is the father),” the Chief Executive said in mixed English, Filipino, and Bisaya.
“But we might need to search for the child because he is nowhere to be found,” Duterte added in jest, this time referring to Pimentel’s son, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
The elder Pimentel co-founded PDP-Laban in 1982 as an opposition force against the Marcos regime. Duterte became an active party stalwart just before the 2016 national elections wherein he won to become the country’s president.
Senator Pimentel has been an ally of Duterte for most of the latter’s term in Malacañang. But recently, two factions have emerged from PDP-Laban–one under Senator Pimentel, and one under Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi–ahead of the May 2022 polls.
Senator Pimentel recently changed his title from PDP-Laban president to chairman, with presidential aspirant, Senator Manny Pacquiao taking over as party president.
This puts the positions in dispute sa Duterte and Cusi are the party chairman and president, respectively, over in the “Cusi wing”.
During his speech, the Chief Executive spoke about the history of PDP-Laban, which he described as a “middle-class” political party.
“The history of PDP, in my horizon, is that majority of them here are not originally from Mindanao. The Bisaya, Tagalog, Ilokano and… If you’re not Maranao, Maguindanao, Sama or Tausug, you are not from Mindanao.
“So the PDP, many of them to be honest thought of what PDP really is. They consider their origins and their perspective in life. Just like me, I’m also a migrant in Mindanao. We landed in Davao in search for a better, the greener pastures of life,” he said.
“So that’s the rank and file here. Majority of those who joined Nacionalista — my father was Nacionalista — Liberal — they were funded by the oligarchs. The PDP had none. The PDP was pro-land reform. I’m pro-land reform as well because the people in Mindanao, we were also oppressed in Davao back in the old days. Our home was demolished. That is why the gravitation of the people is really in the middle-class. Basically ang PDP is middle-class,” Duterte said.