PDP-Laban fracas heats up again
Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s membership in another political party has kicked up a new tempest within the fractured Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) as a rival group threatened to expel him for betraying allegiances.
The PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and recognized by the party chair, President Duterte, cried foul over reports that the erstwhile regional People’s Champ Movement (PCM), which Pacquiao founded in 2009, had converted itself into a national party, calling it “a major ground for expulsion.”
Melvin Matibag, secretary general of PDP-Laban, who belongs to the Cusi faction, said the senator “has technically expelled himself” from the ruling party by maintaining membership in the PCM.
Matibag cited two grounds for removal in the PDP-Laban constitution—taking an oath of membership with another political party and maintaining membership in another political party even after induction in PDP-Laban.
But a Pacquiao ally, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, son of the late PDP founder, former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., defended his colleague, saying there was no rule barring PDP-Laban members from simultaneous membership in a regional party.
“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,” he said in a series of posts on Twitter on Thursday night.
Pimentel said screenshots of documents being circulated by the Cusi faction “actually show that within days of becoming PDP-Laban president … Pacquiao gave up the presidency of the People’s Champ Movement, a regional political party.”
“This was an act which was not even required of him to do,” he said. “Hence, this issue is all a bluff meant to distract Sen. Manny Pacquiao from his world championship boxing bout.”
Pacquiao is in the United States for a match on Aug. 21.
The Pacquiao faction, in a separate statement, said the senator’s “continuous allegiance to the PDP-Laban is unquestionable having been the campaign manager and presently the national president of the party.”
“Senator Manny is just like President Duterte who is likewise a member of a local party Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod up to the present,” the statement added.
Pimentel maintained that PCM was just a regional party, and “as of today,” Pacquiao was not a member anymore and the Cusi group was composed of “expelled members of the party and they are doing it under the auspices of the rogue power grabbers who are not recognized by the legitimate party.”
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