MANILA, Philippines — Senator Robinhood Padilla and Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel on Monday joked about the schism among the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP) after the recent national elections.
During the Senate’s plenary, before being questioned about a bill declaring the first of February as National Hijab Day, Padilla addressed Pimentel as the “second” chairman of the PDP.
“Magandang hapon sa aming pangalawang chairman ng PDP, Senator Pimentel Magandang hapon sa inyo,” he said.
(Good afternoon to the second chairman of the PDP, Senator Pimentel. Good afternoon to you.)
Similarly, Pimentel quickly joked that he wanted to know from Padilla why the latter acknowledged two party chairs.
“With the permission of the sponsor, siguro tatanungin ko siya bakit may pangalawang chairman siyang nire-recognize sa loob ng isang partido,” Pimentel responded.
(With the sponsor’s permission, I would like to ask him why he recognizes a second chairman of a party.)
Then he laughed, adding, “Pero at any rate, hindi na po kasi outside of the topic na eh.”
(But at any rate, I will no longer ask it because it is already outside the topic.)
Padilla then quickly said, “Because I love you, boss.”
Following Pimentel’s question, Padilla answered, seemingly ending the PDP-Laban discussion.
However, upon closing his answer, Padilla again addressed Pimentel, but this time the “only” chairman of the PDP-Laban.
“Yun po mahal na Pangulo at ating isang chairman, ‘wag na pangalawang chairman, isang chairman ng PDP-Laban,” he said.
(That’s my answer, Mr. President, and the only chairman, not the second chairman, but the only chairman of the PDP-Laban.)
The Senate minority leader again laughed but skirted around the issue.
“‘Wag na lang natin banggitin yung sa political party para naka-focus tayo dito sa ating panukalang batas,” Pimentel said.
(Let’s not just mention the political party so we can focus on the proposed law.)
It can be recalled that the then-ruling party PDP-Laban was split into two factions during the 2022 presidential elections.
One faction was led by former President Rodrigo Duterte and then Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who endorsed the presidential bid of then-candidate Bongbong Marcos; and the other faction was led by Pimentel, who endorsed the presidential candidacy of former senator Manny Pacquiao.
The two factions claimed legitimacy and ownership of the party; however, days before the May 9 polls, a division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared the faction led by Duterte and Cusi as the “true and official” PDP-Laban.
It can be noted that Pimentel is the son of former Senate President and party cofounder Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., who founded the PDP-Laban in 1982 together with the late Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. as an opposition force against the Marcos dictatorship.