Comelec declares Pimentel’s group as the ‘legitimate’ PDP Laban
Updated (6:52 p.m.)
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday said the members of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III’s group are the “legitimate” officers of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) for the 2019 elections.
In a resolution shared to reporters, the Comelec said it recognizes “the officers of Pimentel Group as PDP Laban’s legitimate officers authorized to act for in behalf of PDP Laban.”
The case stemmed from Comelec’s Resolution No. 10411, which required PDP Laban to submit its Sworn Information Update Statements (SIUS) with the Clerk of The Commission not later than Aug. 31.
On Aug. 31 and Sept. 4, respectively, the Clerk of the Commission received two sets of SIUS and two sets of List of Authorized Signatories filed by Pimentel’s group on the one hand and Rogelio “Bicbic” Garcia for PDP-Laban on the other.
The Comelec’s Law Department also received two sets of PDP Laban’s List of Authorized Signatories each filed by the Pimentel and Garia camps.
Last Oct. 15, the Comelec en banc ordered to set a hearing to determine PDP Laban’s “authorized signatories and other incidental matters.”
Both parties were present during the Oct. 18 hearing, and both were allowed to file their respective comments.
Last Oct. 23, Pimentel’s group filed its comment, noting the glaring defects and irregularities attendant to the filing of the Garcia camp. They added that the persons who submitted the documents were not legitimate members of PDP Laban and “were not authorized by PDP Laban to cause such filing.”
Garcia’s camp, however, asserted in its Consolidated Position Paper that their group is composed of PDP Laban’s legitimate set of officers elected in a National Assembly held last July 27. Hence, it is authorized to file PDP Laban’s SIUS and List of Authorized Signatories.
With this, the Comelec argued that in 2016, Pimentel, as the PDP Laban’s National President, was the one authorized to submit the List of Signatories for PDP Laban.
The candidates of PDP Laban were then recognized in the 2016 Elections through the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) signed by persons authorized by Pimentel.
Pimentel said the PDP Laban leaders were recognized by the Commission in the past, and “if the group would be changed” it must be “in accordance to the party’s constitution.”
The senator added that he was “happy” that the poll body affirmed their group as the legitimate PDP-Laban.
“I am happy that the true leadership of PDP LABAN has been recognized and preserved by the Comelec,” he said in a message sent to reporters. “They cannot be considered by the Comelec as PDP LABAN official candidates and they should also not present themselves to the electorate as such! [If] they continue to do so then they are deceiving the electorate.”
PDP-Laban’s senatorial slate include Pimentel, Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, former Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, and Maguindanao 2nd district Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu. /ee
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