Koko on PDP’s new name: ‘Why didn’t they form their own political party?’

NPC-PDP-Laban alliance

Leaders and members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) strike the fist pose of then presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte after signing the support agreement as coalition partners. (File photo from MARC JAYSON CAYABYAB/INQUIRER.net)

MANILA,  Philippines — “If they had wanted to change the basic character of  PDP-Laban, then, why didn’t they just form their own political party from the very start?”

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III raised this question on Monday, following the decision of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) to drop Lakas ng Bayan (Laban) as part of its name.

“Why forcibly take over a ‘left of center’ political party and then bring it all the way to the right?” Pimentel further asked in a statement to reporters on Monday.

“Political parties are formed to embody IDEAS. They cannot kill ideas,” he stressed.

Pimentel previously headed PDP-Laban until a successful power grab by party officials and members allied with former President Rodrigo Duterte took place.

The senator was the party president when then presidential candidate Duterte was named its news chairman in 2016.

Five years into Duterte’s presidency, cracks appeared in the PDP-Laban which later led to the filing of a petition by the faction of the new party president, former Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

In 2022, the Commission on Elections recognized Cusi’s faction as the legitimate members of PDP-Laban.

This decision is now the subject of an appeal filed before the Supreme Court by Senator Pimentel’s camp in February last year.

Aside from the name, the senator also lamented the many changes made in the party “both formal and substantive.”

“From the party name, the constitution, the oath taking, the handshake, etc,” he pointed out.

It was his father and namesake, the late Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., who founded PDP in 1982, which later merged with Laban founded by the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

The merger was made as an opposition force to the Marcos dictatorship.

But for Senator Francis Tolentino, the rebranding of the party was an “evolutionary process of a shift in ideology” as the word “Laban” connotes confrontation or opposition.

“So, perhaps, the rebranding would probably be directed to moderate voters or Filipinos na hindi naman gusto lahat 42 years ang laban. Hindi naman pu-pwedeng 42 years nang nakikipag away,” Tolentino, a party member, said over ANC.

(So, perhaps, the rebranding would likely be directed towards moderate voters or Filipinos who don’t want the fight to last for 42 years, as it’s not feasible nor acceptable to be in conflict for 42 years.)

“For me, siguro tama yun na nawala na yung confrontational stance and that’s an evolution of ideology and, perhaps, an appeal for unity, so to speak, to increase their mass base.

(For me, it’s just right to remove the confrontational stance and that’s an evolution of ideology and perhaps, an appeal for unity, so to speak, to increase their mass base.)

NOTE:  AI Generated Content, used for English translation