Pimentel sees ‘padded’ list of voting delegates in PDP-Laban assembly on July 17
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III refuses to attend the PDP-Laban assembly on July 17, despite calls for him to do so, as he called it an “unauthorized” event.
“We don’t even recognize the authority to call that meeting to order, and then we will be attending it? Then they will use us as an excuse to make everything legal. Then when you go there, the voting delegates are already padded,” Pimentel, executive vice chairman of the party, said in Filipino at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum Wednesday.
“Let’s vet the voting delegates. They’re important — the voting delegate — especially to settle a controversial issue,” he added.
The July 17 assembly, where a new set of officers will be elected, was initiated by the faction led by the expelled party vice chairman, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
But Pimentel earlier said the party’s legitimate national assembly would only happen in September, which would be called by the party president, Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
Pimentel is identified with the faction of Pacquiao, who has been at odds with the Cusi-led group.
“Who do you allow to participate? Can you pad your group so that you will now say that we will now drive the vehicle?” Pimentel said.
“We are now the drivers here — even if those who are with him have already one foot in another vehicle,” Pimentel went on.
He also questioned the compliance of “notable” members with the party’s basic requirements — which he said he had asked the PDP-Laban national headquarters to check.
“Many of them are noncompliant. So these meetings Secretary Cusi is calling, if they will report an attendance, we will match it with the report of the national headquarters,” Pimentel said.
“I will go back to my main point. OK, you want to take control of the party. You want to steer the party in the direction you desire, and the justification will be that you have the majority of the party members behind you. The question is are they good-faith members?” he added.
Cusi had earlier denied any intention of doing a power grab in the party.
Meanwhile, PDP-Laban acting Secretary-General Melvin Matibag, who belongs to Cusi’s group, said pointing to members’ compliance was just a “desperate” move to find fault in their faction.
“He no longer has anything to say. That’s why he’s desperate. That’s why he’s all into technicalities,” Matibag told reporters in a separate online interview.
Pimentel had previously also called out Cusi’s faction for supposedly wanting to push an “outsider” as the standard-bearer for the party in 2022. Cusi also denied this.
However, when asked if Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was a possible presidential bet for PDP-Laban, Cusi said it was a possibility but would still be subjected to the proper process.
Pimentel earlier asked members to just leave the party if they would prefer to support a candidate outside their group.
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