Pacquiao gets to defend himself, Cusi-led PDP-Laban says after warning senator of expulsion | Inquirer News
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Pacquiao gets to defend himself, Cusi-led PDP-Laban says after warning senator of expulsion

/ 02:51 PM August 13, 2021
Senator Manny Pacquiao

Senator Manny Pacquiao. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Manny Pacquiao will have his day in court, so to speak, and will be allowed to defend himself amid allegations that he committed a “blatant violation” of the PDP-Laban rules for which he was warned of expulsion by party leadership.

The tables appeared to have been turned when the camp of PDP-Laban president and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi accused Pacquiao of swearing allegiance to another political party, the People’s Champ Movement (PCM), tantamount to expulsion from the party.

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“Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself. The effect of the good Senator’s (Pacquiao) allegiance to PCM is automatic expulsion from the ruling party which, fortunately or unfortunately, he has brought upon himself. His maneuvers are [a] clear and blatant violation of PDP-Laban party rules,” PDP-Laban Secretary General Melvin Matibag, who is identified with the Cusi group, said in a statement.

Matibag said that while their warning of expulsion is “far from bluff,” Pacquiao will be afforded the opportunity to defend himself as provided by the party’s constitution.

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He cited Article VII, Section 7 which states that members facing possible disciplinary measures “shall be given sufficient notice in writing of the charge(s) against him or her, afforded sufficient opportunity to properly defend himself or herself in person or by counsel, and be given a fair hearing by disciplining authority concerned.”

“The decision of the Chapter or concerned Council shall be reduced to writing and furnished the member concerned,” the provision further read.

“Moreover, Section 8 provides that every decision may be appealed within 15 days from written notice to the higher Party level, up to the National Council, whose decision shall be final,” Matibag added.

Earlier, the faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi warned Pacquiao of expulsion over an alleged effort to convert the PCM from a regional party into a national political party.

Pacquiao “has technically expelled himself” from PDP-Laban as he is “maintaining membership” in the PCM, Matibag also said.

Citing Article VII, Section 6 of the PDP-Laban’s Constitution, Matibag noted that taking an oath of membership in or allegiance to any other political party and maintaining a membership in another political party even after induction into the PDP-Laban are grounds for “automatic expulsion” from the party.

Matibag once again pointed to the minutes of the PCM meeting held on Dec. 20 last year, which indicated a supposed amendment to its constitution and by-laws “to serve as a national party.”

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He also pointed out that the meeting was held only more than two weeks after Pacquiao was sworn in as PDP-Laban’s president.

The senator was replaced by Cusi, who was elected in an assembly last July 17. Pacquiao’s group, however, does not recognize the legitimacy of the said event.

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who is identified with the Pacquiao wing, branded the warning from Cusi’s group as “bluff meant to distract” the boxing champ-turned-politician from his bout in August.

Pimentel, who wrote the PDP-Laban’s constitution, said party rules do not bar members from having memberships in PDP-Laban and a regional party at the same time.

“The PDP LABAN constitution has consistently been interpreted by knowledgeable leaders of the party over the decades not to prohibit membership in the party and membership in a regional political party at the same time,” the senator said.

Pacquiao’s camp also said that the senator’s allegiance to PDP-Laban remains “unquestionable.”

As the infighting within the ruling party continues, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would now have to decide which of the two factions is the legitimate party leadership.

Both factions have already submitted their respective Sworn Information and Update Statement to Comelec ahead of the Aug. 15 deadline before the 2022 elections.

EDV

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TAGS: 2022 national elections, PDP-Laban, PDP-Laban Secretary General Melvin Matibag, Senator Manny Pacquiao
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