Cusi faction ups ante with complaint vs Pacquiao wing treasurer

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Cusi faction ups ante with complaint vs Pacquiao wing treasurer
Members of the Cusi wing of PDP-Laban clench their fists in the signature pose of President Rodrigo Duterte during their national convention on September 8, 2021.
PDP-Laban Cusi wing

MANILA, Philippines (First published on September 17, 5:35 p.m.) — The PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi escalated its legal battle against the group headed by Sen. Manny Pacquiao, with an official of the Cusi wing filing a complaint for estafa or qualified theft against the treasurer of the Pacquiao faction.

Reymar Mansilungan, chairperson of the livelihood committee of the Cusi faction, lodged Thursday before the prosecutor’s office of Daet, Camarines Sur a complaint against Pacquiao faction treasurer Evan Rebadulla for not complying with the demands of the Cusi group to provide an accounting of party funds.

Mansilungan said in his six-page complaint that despite the Cusi faction’s adoption of a resolution directing Rebadulla to make an accounting of party funds and a demand letter that followed, Rebadulla still refused to comply with the Cusi wing’s directives.

“Mr. Rebadulla has to account for all the collections of the party since he assumed office but since he refuses to do so, we are compelled to file this case against him,” Mansilungan said in a statement.

Mansilungan’s complaint estimated that the party funds in Rebadulla’s possession amounts to at least P100 million as he was already party treasurer when then party president Sen. Koko Pimentel increased membership dues to P1,000 per person at a time when there were supposedly 100,000 new members.

The Pacquiao faction dismissed the complaint as "funny and ignorant," saying there is no truth to the "wild and baseless" allegations against Rebadulla and that the claims against him amount to perjury and cyber libel.

"What is clear is that there is a clear admission of the rogue elements that they do not control the true PDP-Laban party," the Pacquiao wing said. "They have admitted that they are not authorized and do not have any custody at all of the true and official records and resources of party. They do not have any idea what and where are the of the assets of the party."

The Pacquiao wing further said that Rebadulla has the right to file counter charges against Mansilungan, whom they say is not even a member of PDP-Laban.

Both the Cusi and Pacquiao factions claim to be the legitimate PDP-Laban and have separately submitted Sworn Information Update Statements, which contains the list of party officers, with the Commission on Elections for them to be recognized.

Bitter battle

Just last week, the Cusi faction asked Comelec to declare the Pacquiao wing illegitimate and to prevent them from acting on behalf of the party.

This was an intensification of the bitter battle between the two warring factions after both wings ousted each other’s officials.

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.

Pacquiao is among potential presidential candidates in the 2022 elections, while Duterte has accepted PDP-Laban’s nomination for him to run as their vice presidential bet.

The Cusi faction nominated Sen. Bong Go to run for president, but he turned this down, although the group still hopes that the senator, who was Duterte’s long-time aide, changes his mind.

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