Cusi-led faction expels Pacquiao from PDP-Laban

Cusi-led faction expels Pacquiao from PDP-Laban
Photo shows Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Rep. Lito Atienza during the filing of certificate of candidacy on October 1 at the Sofitel Tent in Pasay
Facebook / Manny Pacquiao

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:30 p.m.) — The PDP-Laban wing led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said on Sunday it has expelled Sen. Manny Pacquiao from the administration party after he filed his candidacy under a "relatively unknown party" based in Cebu. 

Pacquiao filed his certificate of candidacy on October 1 under the Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives or PROMDI, a party founded by former Cebu Gov. Lito Osmeña.

Melvin Matibag, secretary general of the PDP-Laban faction under Cusi, said that violated the party's constitution. He said the national executive committee reached the decision last Friday. 

"Let’s call a spade a spade," the lawyer added. "If that is not disloyalty, betrayal and abandonment of PDP Laban, I don’t know what is."

In response, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, who chairs the Pacquiao faction, described the issue as the other side's "figment of imagination."

He said their national executive committee had allowed Pacquiao to use PROMDI's certificate of nomination and acceptance. 

Pimentel added it was "to consolidate [Pacquiao's] support base and alliance partners because he is already known and identified with PDP-Laban."

Along with PDP Laban and PROMDI, he said they have formed an alliance with the People's Champ Movement, a regional party in General Santos City and Sarangani province.  

"Hence everything is normal and in order per our party constitution," Pimentel said.

The administration party has split into the Cusi and Pacquiao factions. The rift has also reached the Commission on Elections, which would have to declare which of the two is the legitimate PDP-Laban.

Matibag said Pacquiao's recent move showed he does not have the grassroots support of the party's members. 

"The party was only a vehicle for his overbearing presidential ambition," the official added. "When it was no longer useful to him, iniwan na niya kami (he left us)."

He said they are confident Comelec would rule in favor of them, adding "there is no clearer evidence that the Pacquiao faction is the nuisance and illegitimate group of PDP Laban."

Pimentel has also hit back at the Cusi-led wing, specifically that they nominated Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go to run for president and President Rodrigo Duterte to be its vice-presidential candidate. 

Duterte has since announced he has withdrawn his acceptance of the nomination and Go on Saturday filed his COC for vice president.

"What is happening to their group? Don’t they coordinate at all?" Pimentel said. "Are they a group of people who just change their minds in an instant and then that is already the group’s decision?"

Rep. Lito Atienza (Buhay Party-list) is Pacquiao's running mate in next year's general elections. — Christian Deiparine, with reports from Xave Gregorio

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