Pacquiao out, Cusi in as PDP-Laban president
MANILA, Philippines — After weeks of infighting in the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Senator Manny Pacquiao was replaced Saturday by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi as the president of the party.
The election was held during PDP-Laban’s national assembly in Pampanga, an event Pacquiao dubbed as “unauthorized”. It was held as what appears to be two factions within the party—one with Pacquiao and Senator Koko Pimentel, and another with Cusi—continue to clash.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who chairs the party, led the oath-taking of the new officials of the PDP-Laban party:
- President – Alfonso G. Cusi
- Executive Vice President – Carlo Alexei Nograles
- Vice President for NCR – Edwin Olivarez
- Vice President for Luzon – Raul Lambino
- Vice President for Visayas – Ben Evardone
- Vice President for Mindanao – Charito Plaza
- National Treasurer – Rianne Cuevas
- Auditor General – Christopher Lawrence Go
- Membership committee chair – Astravel Naik
- Education committee chair – Noel Felongco
- Finance committee chair – Antonio Kho
- Legal committee chair – Richard Nethercot
- Public information committee chair – Jonathan Malaya
- Livelihood committee chair – Reymar Mansilungan
- Youth affairs committee chair – Maria Katrina Nicole Contacto
Cusi’s election came a week after he was supposedly expelled by Pacquiao for allegedly violating provisions of the party’s constitution “by showing allegiance to a political party apart from PDP-Laban.”
In a resolution dated July 3, Pacquiao said Cusi supposedly admitted that he is open to the candidacy of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as president, and President Rodrigo Duterte as vice president.
Duterte-Carpio is not a member of PDP-Laban and is currently the chairman of the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP).
But during the party’s national council meeting on Friday, the council approved a motion voiding what they called an “illegal” resolution expelling Cusi and two other party leaders.
‘Illegal, no effect’
Pacquiao and Pimentel’s camp, however, dismissed the events during the national assembly.
In a Zoom meeting held simultaneously with the national assembly organized by Cusi’s group, Pimentel alongside other “original” PDP-Laban members said that the events during the “illegal assembly” have no force and effect since it was not authorized by the members and was not sanctioned by Pacquiao.
Senator Pimentel is the son of former Senate President and party co-founder Nene Pimentel.
“Tayo po ay may hinaharap na pagsubok ngayon sa ating partido kaya ang importante ay manatili po tayong malakas at magtiwala sa liderato ng ating partido sa ilalim ng ating presidente na si Senator Manny Pacquiao,” Pimentel said in the Zoom meeting.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, said that the government should now focus on its efforts to deal with the COVID-19 Delta variant instead of politics.
“Kung sa tingin nila Cusi at iba pa na mas importante ang politika sa ngayon, bahala na sila. Sa huli, isa lang naman ang tanong na dapat sagutin. Sino ba ang sasamahan ng taong bayan?” Pacquiao said.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.