Comelec urged to rule on PDP-Laban row now
MANILA, Philippine —The Commission on Elections (Comelec) must declare “soonest,” which of the two factions in the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) is the legitimate representative of the ruling party.
As he made the appeal to the poll body, lawyer Melvin Matibag, secretary-general of the faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, expressed confidence the PDP-Laban would have only one presidential candidate in 2022, even after the other group supporting Sen. Manny Pacquiao nominated the boxing champ as its standard-bearer on Sunday.
“We are not surprised; we expect them to do that. The ouster of President Duterte [as party chair], that was a comedy. The proclamation [of Pacquiao], that’s drama. Hopefully, it would not end up as a tragedy,” Matibag said in an online briefing on Monday.
The Cusi-led faction of the PDP-Laban has petitioned the Comelec to declare their group the legitimate party members “the soonest because it carries the consequence that those belonging to the losing camp will be treated as independent candidates,” he added.
But while awaiting the poll body’s response, Matibag said their group had started issuing certificates of nomination and acceptance to about 50 congressmen and another 50 governors for next year’s elections.
The filing of certificates of candidacies for national and local positions will be from Oct. 1 to 8.
Matibag was confident the Comelec would decide in favor of their petition seeking to declare as illegitimate the other faction’s claim that Pacquiao and Aquilino Pimentel Jr., who was elected to replace Mr. Duterte as party chair last month, were the PDP-Laban’s rightful officers.
The PDP was founded by the late Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. while Laban was founded by former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
The Cusi-led group earlier nominated Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go to be its standard-bearer with Duterte as his running mate. Go, however, declined.
Matibag denied reports that talks were ongoing for a possible team-up between the president and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Another possible presidential candidate, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, confirmed meeting with Vice President Leni Robredo and Pacquiao.
But Domagoso declined to disclose details of the meeting.
“We may have different perspectives [on issues] but there must be some commonality and that should be about the state of the nation,” said Domagoso, the newly elected president of Aksyon Demokratiko—founded by the late Sen. Raul Roco.
—WITH A REPORT FROM MARICAR CINCO
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