MANILA, Philippines – With neither a presidential or vice presidential candidate in the 2022 polls, the Cusi-led PDP-Laban said on Wednesday, December 1, that it was still the “ruling” party with a “long bench” of leaders.
The emphasis on its strength and vast network was the focus of a statement released by party president Alfonso Cusi a day after its standard-bearer, Senator Bong Go, said he was backing out of the presidential race.
“PDP-Laban remains as the ruling party and has a long bench of capable and extraordinary leaders who will continue with their service to their communities and stakeholders, whether this be in the barangays, municipalities, the districts, their provinces, party-list groups, or in the national level,” said Cusi in a statement.
PDP-Laban is the party chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte and therefore considered the ruling party in the Philippines. At the same time, however, it’s been plagued by internal problems – it has two factions: one led by Cusi and another led by senators Koko Pimentel and Manny Pacquiao, the latter also a presidential candidate.
Go himself wasn’t a PDP-Laban candidate. While he first filed his candidacy for vice president under PDP-Laban, he withdrew that and ran for president instead under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS). The factions in PDP-Laban are the subject of a dispute before the Commission on Elections, posing the danger that when the poll body declares that a faction is unaccredited, its nominees will be in limbo.
The party, through Cusi, said they “respected” Go’s decision and said that the move to endorse him as president – during an earlier party convention – was still correct. “However, ‘life must go on,’ the party needs to move forward regardless of the prevailing circumstances,” said Cusi.
In a letter to their members sent on December 1, the party said it “remains steadfast and is committed to support and campaign for all its candidates.”
Local officials had felt concern over uncertainty in the party, after Senator Ronald dela Rosa and Go withdrew their PDP-Laban candidacies – as president and vice president – on the last day of substitution via withdrawal. Their withdrawal meant PDP-Laban would not have a 2022 ticket, although Go’s PDDS candidacy have been fully backed by PDP-Laban. – Rappler.com