PDP-Laban

Koko Pimentel slams PDP-Laban faction backing ‘outsider’ for 2022

Camille Elemia

RULING PARTY. Senator Aquilino Pimentel III speaks at the PDP-Laban victory party in 2016.

Rappler file photo

'Worst of all, this group is hiding behind the popularity of the President in order to do this,' says the senator in a letter to his PDP-Laban party mates

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III denounced PDP-Laban members, whom he called a “rogue group,” for pushing for the presidential candidacy of a certain “party outsider.”

In a letter to his PDP-Laban party mates dated June 12, Pimentel slammed the faction led by party vice chairman and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi for its secret efforts to reorganize the party.

“It is now obvious to us that their ultimate plan is to gift the PDP-Laban’s nomination for president of the Republic of the Philippines in the 2022 elections to someone who does not belong to the party, that is, to a party outsider,” Pimentel said in his letter that was shared on Twitter by PDP-Laban Executive Director Ron Munsayac.

“Worst of all, this group is hiding behind the popularity of the President in order to do this,” he added.

On May 31, Cusi presided over the PDP-Laban’s national council meeting – a gathering that the party chairman, President Rodrigo Duterte, supposedly had asked him to organize. The gathering resulted in a call for Duterte to seek the vice-presidency in next year’s elections.

Pimentel said Cusi not only failed to disclose valid authority from Duterte, the energy chief also kept party president Senator Manny Pacquiao “from helping coordinate and fix the agenda for the said meeting” – a supposed requirement under the party constitution.

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Future of PDP-Laban

Pimentel also expressed concern over the future of PDP-Laban, a party formed by his father, the late senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr, to help fight Martial Law.

“There is this rogue group which immediately wants to shoot down the possible candidacies of our legitimate, talented, credible, and proven party mates. We should not allow this to happen! The PDP-Laban candidate for President in the 2022 elections must come from the PDP-Laban members!” Pimentel said.

He urged the “rogue group” to leave PDP-Laban if it would not follow party rules – a similar call made by his ally Pacquiao.

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Pacquiao and Duterte, former staunch allies, are now embroiled in an apparent conflict ahead of the 2022 polls. Pacquiao drew the ire of Duterte after the senator lamented corruption in government. An irked Duterte dared Pacquiao to name these corrupt officials, or else he would campaign against the boxing champ.

This was not the first known incident of party infighting. In 2019, just ahead of the midterm elections, the party struggled for stability and survival following infighting among factions and the external threat from presidential daughter Sara Duterte’s regional party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

The battle went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ultimately decided that the faction led at the time by Pimentel was the legitimate representation of PDP-Laban. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com