WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Philippines’ ruling party PDP-Laban held its national assembly on Saturday, July 17, as it was embroiled in a power struggle ahead of the 2022 presidential race that will elect President Rodrigo Duterte’s successor.
PDP-Laban on Saturday elected new officials – and ousted Senator Manny Pacquiao as party president.
Party chair Duterte himself presided over the national assembly in Clark, Pampanga, starting around 3 pm on Saturday.
The national assembly comes a day after the party’s national council meeting on Friday, July 16, where party members in the House of Representatives showed support for party vice chair Alfonso Cusi, whom Pacquiao had “expelled.”
The camp of Pacquiao and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, PDP-Laban executive vice chairman and son of founder Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr, have refused to recognize these supposedly rogue activities.
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President Duterte speaks at PDP-Laban national assembly
Duterte: 'The dilawan and the left were the ones really pushing for it [Philippines joining International Criminal Court].'— Pia Ranada (@piaranada) July 17, 2021
However, Duterte's own spokesman Harry Roque was a major advocate for the membership of the Philippines in the ICC.
CONTEXT: Why Cusi faction says Pacquiao is not ‘ousted’
Party vice chair Alfonso Cusi has long declined to use the term “oust” to describe what was expected to happen at the Saturday meeting, insisting that the election of new officers is being done in accordance with party rules.
Senator Manny Pacquiao, currently in the United States for his boxing match with Errol Spence Jr., does not recognize the ongoing meeting.
There have long been some members in the party who never recognized Pacquiao as party president.
It was PDP-Laban stalwart Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III who had given his post of party president to Pacquiao in December 2020. But the faction led by Cusi and National Transmission Corporation president Melvin Matibag (party secretary general) felt it was unfair for Pimentel to just appoint Pacquiao without going through the process.
PDP-Laban declares national officer positions, committee chairs vacant
Cusi-led PDP-Laban has declared all national officer positions and committee chairs vacant @rapplerdotcom— Camille Elemia 陈可娜 (@CamilleElemia) July 17, 2021
PDP-Laban set to elect new national officers
PDP-Laban is set to hold the election of new national officers, including:
Executive Vice President
VP for Luzon
VP for Metro Manila
VP for Visayas
VP for Mindanao
National Committee Chair
Legal Affairs and Arbitration Committee
Public Information Committee
Youth Affairs Committee