2022 Philippine Elections

PDP-Laban Cusi faction ‘not concerned’ about facing Isko-Willie Ong in 2022 elections

Aika Rey
PDP-Laban Cusi faction ‘not concerned’ about facing Isko-Willie Ong in 2022 elections

'STILL POPULAR.; President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shows one of the 16 legislations he signed during the ceremonial signing of bills at the Malacañang Palace on June 24, 2021.

Malacanang photo

'We are looking at our own strengths and weaknesses,' says PDP-Laban secretary general Melvin Matibag, adding that President Rodrigo Duterte 'is still popular'

The PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi is not bothered about the possibility of facing the Isko Moreno-Willie Ong tandem in the 2022 elections.

In a media briefing on Thursday, September 23, PDP-Laban secretary general Melvin Matibag was asked about the possible implications of facing the recently launched tandem.

Hindi namin iniisip ‘yung weakness or strength ng aming mga pwedeng makalaban sa 2022 (We are not thinking about the weakness or strength of the other possible contenders in 2022), we are looking at our own strengths and weaknesses,” said Matibag.

He added that the party would instead “harness” its strengths and “address” its weaknesses to assure the faction’s victory in the 2022 polls.

The party is still banking on President Rodrigo Duterte’s popularity.

“The president is still popular,” Matibag said.

Duterte is still largely popular, with his highest satisfaction rating yet recorded at 84% in November 2020. But in Social Weather Stations’s survey in May and June, Duterte’s numbers dipped to 75%.

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The Cusi-led faction nominated Senator Bong Go and Duterte as its presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively.

Duterte had already signed his certificate of nomination and acceptance, while Go has since declined the nomination.

Matibag said that the faction is still hoping that Go changes his mind.

“It won’t be fair to Senator Go to say that we are waiting for his decision and yet consider a possible substitute for him at the same time. We will wait for his decision until the last minute because we really feel there is a good chance he would accept,” he said.

On Thursday, PDP-Laban also signed an alliance agreement with Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan or PDDS, the national party of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman Greco Belgica. Belgica is part of the Cusi wing’s senatorial slate.

The Commission on Election (Comelec) will have to decide on which faction of PDP-Laban is legitimate.

The Comelec gave the self-described “original” faction led by Senator Aquilino, son of PDP-Laban founder Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., five days to respond to the petition filed by the Cusi group.

The “original” faction nominated Pacquiao as the group’s presidential bet for the 2022 polls. Pimentel said during the faction’s own national assembly that he “will not allow the party to be hijacked” by Cusi’s group. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.