PDP-Laban’s ‘genuine party members’ elect new execs; Bong Go is auditor
Some members of the ruling political party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), claiming to be “genuine party members,” elected on Friday their new leaders that included Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Bong Go.
Rogelio Garcia was elected president, Abbin Dalhani executive vice president, Willy Talag secretary-general, while Go was elected auditor. Garcia said Go accepted his nomination last Thursday night although he did not attend the Friday’s assembly.
The following were the other elected officers: Roberto Aleonar (treasurer), Crisostomo Gotladera (VP-Luzon), Garth Gollayan (VP-NCR), Jomari Arib (VP-Visayas), and Cesar Cuntapay (VP-Mindanao).
Garcia denied that they were a faction of PDP-Laban, saying they were the genuine members of the party.
“Hindi po kami rogue members, we’re legitimate party members ever since. Hindi pa po senador si (Aquilino) Koko Pimentel (III) pero kami po’y kasama na ng tatay niya (Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr.),” he said in an interview after taking his oath.
“They are not in a position confirmed by the national assembly sapagkat hindi po sila nagpapatawag… They are not the party officials,” he added.
The group said nominations for the national council positions ended last 12 midnight. There was only one nominee for each position and all nominees were elected via viva voce during the assembly attended by around 4,000 people, according to Garcia.
Asked when this number could be considered as the majority of PDP-Laban members, Garcia said no, but added that “any number that attends the national assembly is more than the majority of PDP, that’s the requirement under our bylaws.”
Garcia also said only around 30,000 are legitimate PDP-Laban members in the country as many others only participated in mass oath-taking and did not undergo basic membership seminar.
Garcia said he dethroned PDP-Laban President Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who earlier disowned the group and their event, saying they “have no authority to represent” the party, and were therefore “usurpers of party authority,” who should be “dealt with in accordance with existing election and criminal laws and party rules.”
Talag said he replaced Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as secretary-general, while the group said President Duterte remained their chairman.
In a separate statement, the PDP-Laban led by Pimentel also said Garcia’s group were composed of “rogue members who will be dealt with in accordance with our party rules,” and that they have “already expelled some of them.”
But Garcia, regional president of PDP-Laban region 12 and a member since the 1980s, insisted that they were the “legitimate” PDP-Laban, and were “willing and able” to face any complaint from Pimentel’s camp.
Talag, on the other hand, has accused Pimentel’s camp of committing violations such as conducting mass oath-taking of members “without proper basic seminar” and swearing-in officials “involved in illegal drugs.”
He added that Pimentel failed to conduct national assemblies mandated under their party laws.
“Nandito po tayo upang ganapin ang 11th national assembly. Ito po’y makasaysayan dahil ilang dekada na na hindi tayo nagkakaroon ng national assembly,” he said.
Despite this, Garcia said they were willing to reach out to Pimentel.
He also said this assembly was “planned long before Speaker Alvarez was ousted” and that they have sent out notices and published the event in some newspapers.
The event was “funded from their own contributions,” Garcia said.
Talag earlier said Pimentel, Alvarez and the other previous officials could still be considered as members.
A woman from Bulacan who refused to be named but was part of the audience said she “did not understand a thing” from the event and was just asked to go there even if she was not a party member.
Gigi Vaflor, an overseas Filipino worker from Sta. Rosa, Laguna, who was also at the event, said her group was informed that the party would elect its new officials. She said she is a PDP-Laban member.
Pressed about some of the clueless audience, Garcia said: “Hindi ko po sagot ‘yan dahil may kanya-kanyang leaders kami sa probinsya na nag-imbita.”
The members of the audience were mostly Duterte supporters who even chanted his and the party’s name in some parts of the program. — WITH REPORTS FROM DAPHNE BELTRAN, INQUIRER.net Intern
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