Pimentel, other ‘original’ PDP-Laban members say party elections ‘illegal’
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Koko Pimentel and the other “original” members of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party said the elections led by the faction of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi was “illegal” and has “no force and effect.”
They made the remark following the holding of a national assembly, led by Cusi’s group, that led to the ouster of Senator Manny Pacquiao as party president. The national assembly was held as what appears to be two factions—one with Pacquiao and Pimentel, and the other with Cusi—continue to clash.
In a Zoom meeting held simultaneously with the national assembly organized by Cusi’s group, the “original” PDP-Laban members said 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.
For his part, Pimentel said PDP-Laban members should continue to support Pacquiao’s leadership. Senator Pimentel is the son and namesake of former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel who co-founded the party.
“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.
“Huwag po tayong mag-alala kasi ang talaga ipinaglalaban namin dito ay yung boses po ng ating mga chapter members a buong bansa,” Pimentel added.
In a separate statement, Pimentel said Cusi “should follow all the rules of the party.”
“The gathering hosted by Sec Cusi is not recognized by the existing PDP-Laban leadership. Since Sec Cusi wants to be a stickler for rules then he should follow all the rules of the Party,” Pimentel said.
“You cannot make attendees to a PDP LABAN party assembly instant members of the party on the spot! As far as the present PDP LABAN leadership is concerned we will continue to function as the party,” Pimentel added.
The “original” party members likewise insisted that all party officials are “elected by the party’s general membership and not by a few politicians who are not even full-fledged party members.”
Jovel Lopez, who is a PDP-Laban community leader in Bulacan and a party cadre since the founding of the party, said he does not understand why “party newcomers and interlopers are now trying to wrest control of the party.”
“Nagtataka nga po kami kung bakit ngayon eh ang daming nagsulputang mga politiko na nagsasabing PDP daw sila at kami pa na mga orihinal na miyembro ang naitsa-pwera,” Lopez said.
“Hindi naman po kami basta-basta makakapayag na itong mga sabit na ito ang mamayagpag sa partidong aming itinayo,” he added.
Cagayan de Oro City Council President Marlo Tabac, who is a PDP-Laban grassroots leader in Mindanao, said Pacquiao has the full support of the majority of the PDP-Laban members.
“The Clark assembly is a farce. Karamihan naman sa mga nandoon ay pawang mga sabit lang sa partido and they are not even real members of PDP-Laban,” Tabac said.
“Their political loyalty has never been with PDP-Laban so there’s really no doubt in my mind that they are out to destroy the party. Let me remind them however that this was not the first time that people tried to bring down PDP-Laban but they failed. I can tell you now, they will fail again,” he added.
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