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PDP-Laban faction tells Comelec to declare Pacquiao wing illegitimate

Philstar.com
PDP-Laban faction tells Comelec to declare Pacquiao wing illegitimate
A banner shows PDP-Laban's logo in this undated file photo
Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — The warring factions of the ruling PDP-Laban party will now duke it out before the Commission on Elections, where the wing led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and backed by President Rodrigo Duterte has challenged the legitimacy of the group led by Sens. Manny Pacquiao and Koko Pimentel.

"PDP-Laban has filed a case in the Comelec against the group usurping party authority and pretending to be representatives of our party," said Melvin Matibag, secretary-general of the Cusi wing.

Cusi and Matibag has asked the Comelec to throw out the sworn information update statements, which contains the list of party officers, of the Pacquiao faction and to stop them from committing any acts contrary to the PDP-Laban constitution.

They also asked the Comelec to issue a temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction against Pacquiao, Pimentel and their allies from performing unauthorized acts in behalf of PDP-Laban.

The Pacquiao faction and the Cusi group have been engaged in a bitter battle as to who is the legitimate PDP-Laban, with both wings having ousted each other’s officials.

In response to the complaint, Ron Munsayac, executive director of the Pacquiao wing, said that Pimentel’s leadership as chairman is recognized by “grassroots members and senior leaders” of the party while Pacquiao “continues to enjoy the confidence” of party stalwarts.

After months of infighting — largely due to the Cusi camp’s endorsement of Duterte to run for vice president — Pacquiao expelled Cusi, Matibag and membership committee head Astra Naik for supposedly backing the potential presidential run of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is the daughter of the president.

The Cusi faction retaliated by ousting Pacquiao as party president and electing the energy secretary in his stead.

In response, the Pacquiao faction replaced Duterte as party chairman with Pimentel, son of the late senator Nene Pimentel who founded PDP-Laban.

Both factions have submitted their sworn information update statement which contain a list of their officers before the Comelec, which is expected to decide on who is the real PDP-Laban. 

Pacquiao is among potential presidential candidates in next year’s polls, while Duterte has declared that he will run for vice president. It is not yet clear who Duterte will run alongside, although the Cusi wing gave him a free hand to choose who his runningmate will be.

Top officials of the Cusi wing also endorsed Sen. Bong Go, the president’s long-time aide, as the party’s presidential candidate, but he has declined this offer. The offer, however, still stands as the Cusi wing insists on nominating Go for president. — Xave Gregorio

ALFONSO CUSI KOKO PIMENTEL MANNY PACQUIAO PDP-LABAN
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