From PDP-Laban to PDP: Pimentel laments party changes

From PDP-Laban to PDP: Koko laments party changes

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:05 AM April 23, 2024

Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III

Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said on Monday that former President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies should have just formed their own party instead of drastically changing the once-ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

“They made many changes, both formal and substantive—from the party name, the constitution, the oath-taking, the handshake [and others],” Pimentel told reporters.


“It’s just sad that we had to fight over the party only for them to replace its name and symbolisms. We could have parted ways as friends and have a peaceful separation,” he said.


READ: PDP drops Laban from name, endorses 2025 bets

According to him, by removing Laban from the party’s original name, the Duterte-led faction practically wanted to erase its identity as a “left-of-center” organization.

The party was a coalition between the Lakas ng Bayan (Laban) founded by former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. in 1978, and Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP), founded in 1982 by Pimentel’s father, former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr.

The two parties merged in February 1983 with PDP-Laban becoming the main opposition group. It also served as a pillar of the coalition that propelled Aquino’s wife, Corazon Aquino, to the presidency in 1986, and ended the dictatorial regime of then President Ferdinand Marcos.

Left of center to right

“If they had wanted to change the basic character of PDP-Laban, then why didn’t they just form their own political party? Why forcibly take over a ‘left of center’ political party and then bring it all the way to the ‘right?’” the senator lamented.

The modifications in the party’s name and membership processes were announced during the PDP’s 42nd anniversary celebration held in Cebu City on April 20.


For the 2016 presidential elections, PDP-Laban chose Duterte, then Davao City mayor, as its standard-bearer as well as party chair. It became the dominant party in the country after Duterte won the presidency.

But in the run-up to the 2022 presidential race, PDP-Laban was divided into two factions—one led by Pimentel and its then party president, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, while the other was headed by Duterte and then Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Pimentel’s group had fielded Pacquiao as its standard-bearer while the Duterte-Cusi faction endorsed the candidacy of then former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Pimentel had objected to this, as his father had originally formed the party to oppose Marcos’ father.

The Commission on Elections eventually issued a ruling in May 2022 recognizing the Duterte-Cusi group as the “true and official” members of PDP-Laban.

No regrets

Despite the development, Pimentel was optimistic that their party would still be able to carry out its mission to push for major political reforms, including its advocacy for a federal system of government.

“Political parties are formed to embody ideas,” he stressed, adding: “They cannot kill ideas. Hence, the PDP-Laban’s ideology will continue to live on in its original members as well as in the new converts.”

When asked if he regretted supporting Duterte as PDP-Laban’s presidential candidate in 2016, Pimentel said they actually “dealt with each other in good faith.”

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“I saw his sincerity and of all those involved in [Duterte’s presidential campaign] in 2016. So no regrets. I understand that people’s way of thinking changes,” he said. —WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH

TAGS: Koko Pimentel, PDP-Laban

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