PDP without ‘Laban’ endorses Go, Dela Rosa, Tolentino for 2025 polls

John Sitchon

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PDP without ‘Laban’ endorses Go, Dela Rosa, Tolentino for 2025 polls

REELECTIONISTS. The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) announced its endorsements for reelectionists Senators Bong Go, Francis Tolentino, and Ronald Dela Rosa during the party's National Council Meeting on Friday, April 19 in Cebu City.

Partido Demokratiko Pilipino

After its national meeting, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino now identifies itself without Laban, signaling a departure from its ties with the late Ninoy Aquino's party

CEBU, Philippines – The Duterte-led Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) officially removed “Laban” from its name and endorsed the reelection bid of Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Francis Tolentino, and Bong Go for the 2025 midterm elections.

The endorsements for the reelectionists and amendments to the party constitution were discussed during the PDP national council meeting held at NUSTAR Resort and Casino in Cebu City on Friday, April 19. 

“Most of these have been already discussed and thoroughly debated upon in a series of national executive committee (meetings),” PDP chairperson of international affairs Raul Lambino said as moderator for the event.

One of the major amendments was the removal of “Laban” in the party name which belonged to the Lakas ng Bayan (Laban) party founded by the late Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. in 1978. 

“In February 1983, the PDP and Laban merged, making it a national political party with members from all over the country,” the PDP-Laban’s official website read.

Dela Rosa, in a short speech, addressed the “elephant in the room,” referring to attempts of members moving to other political parties, and some incumbent officials leaving the party to form their own

“We have a notion that ang PDP-Laban ay nagkakaroon ng mass exodus, going to other parties, lalong-lalo’t na sa House of Representatives…pero at the local level, ‘andiyan pa rin kayo so we have to stay strong,” Dela Rosa told party members during the meeting.

(We have a notion that there is a mass exodus leaving PDP-Laban, going to other parties, especially in the House of Representatives…but at the local level, you are still there so we have to stay strong.)

Since November 2023, PDP membership in the House of Representatives dropped to just 15, from more than a 100 during former president Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

Amid the political turmoil, the party decided to add to their roster of senatorial bets actor Phillip Salvador, a known supporter of Duterte who told the former president’s critics “to all die.”

The only wing

PDP president Jose Chaves Alvarez told reporters in a Friday press conference that the PDP-Laban faction headed by former Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and chaired by Duterte, continues to be the only PDP-Laban in existence.

It can be recalled that the PDP-Laban faction led by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III and then-presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao filed a motion for reconsideration to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on its decision affirming the Cusi-wing as the “legitimate faction.”

On January 27, 2023, the Comelec denied the Pimentel faction’s motion over the leadership of the party. In February 2023, the Pimental-wing filed an appeal to the Supreme Court to reverse the Comelec’s decision.

“Since the Supreme Court has not issued a restraining order, we consider the en banc of the Comelec as final,” Alvarez said.

Removing Laban

The origins of the PDP go way back in the early 1980s. 

The late senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., the father Koko Pimentel, founded the party and formed PDP-Laban with the assassinated opposition senator.

Together with the United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO) party, PDP-Laban became a huge part of the coalition that helped Corazon Aquino become the 11th president of the Philippines.

After the national meeting on Friday, the party would now be identifying itself without the name Laban, signaling a departure from their ties to Aquino’s party.

In the past, Pimentel slammed the Cusi-wing for being “total strangers” to the party that was supposedly established to oppose the Marcos dictatorship.

‘Duterte can say anything’

When asked about the party’s thoughts on Duterte’s toxic exchanges with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Alvarez refused to be involved in the matter.

“Our party chairman being a former president can say anything he wants but us in the party hierarchy, we are consolidators, we are peacemakers…so whatever other rhetoric about us, please do not involve us,” the party president said.

During the national meeting, Duterte said that Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama would never need Marcos “in a thousand years.” In February, Rama joined Duterte’s Cebu Prayer Rally and expressed his opposition to the charter change under the president’s administration.

Alam mo bakit? Mas mayaman ang Cebu kaysa national money (You know why? Cebu is richer than national money),” the former president said. – Rappler.com

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